ASHLAND -- Ohio Governor Mike DeWine addressed a crowd of students and community members Tuesday afternoon at the Ashland University Myer's Convocation Center as part of the Ashbrook Center's Major Issues Lecture series.
Ohio's 70th governor, DeWine highlighted initiatives to fill jobs more effectively despite projections for a stagnant state population and addressed healthcare concerns, specifically the rising rate in young suicides and how the state might address the growing international threat of the Coronavirus.
Yesterday, DeWine signed Ohio Senate Bill 7 into law at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The legislation breaks down employment barriers for service members and their spouses moving to Ohio per their military assignments by requiring Ohio licensing agencies to issue temporary licenses to service members and their spouses who are already licensed in another state. This will include teachers and nurses, for instance.
"And we're going to try to take that the next step. We're looking at reciprocity and making it quicker -- not just for spouses of the military -- but for anybody else that comes into the state," DeWine said.
When speaking with employers across the state, DeWine says the biggest challenge cited is a lack of employees, especially a lack of employees with the required skillset for the open positions. It's an issue statewide and relevant to many industries, he said.
This led him to speak about his early childhood development initiatives, too. He highlighted what he's called a "student-focused" budget, which was passed by the state last year.
"We're a state that's population has been flat for about 40, 50 years, if you look at projections into the future, that projection is that our population will remain fairly stable," DeWine said. "As I mentioned before, the number one complaint I get from businesses as I travel around the state is 'I can't find workers,' 'I can't find workers with the skillset to match the particular job that I have.'"
"And so I think it is obviously imperative that we do everything that we can to make sure every person lives up to their full potential, and we need to start at a very young age."
Further, DeWine shared that two students have been quarantined at Miami University after traveling from an affected area in China. He encouraged people to listen to what the state's health director has to say today at a press conference.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, suicide deaths have increased by 45 percent among all Ohioans and by a whooping 56 percent among those age 10 to 24 from 2007 to 2018.
While speaking at AU, Dewine recognized suicide as the leading cause of death for youth ages 10 to 14 in Ohio. In the coming days, he is expected to announce a plan to address this problem.
DeWine won the November 2018 election to become Ohio's governor. He took office one year ago in January 2019.
He began his political career in 1976 when he was elected Greene County prosecutor. He went on to be elected to the Ohio Senate and later to the Ohio House of Representatives.
In 1990, DeWine was elected lieutenant governor under Gov. George Voinovich and went on to win election in 1994 to the U.S. Senate, where he served until 2007.
DeWine then became the Ohio attorney general from 2011 until he became governor.