Ohio Economic Development Updates: New Grant Programs, New Statewide Strategy and Reduced Compliance Requirements

October 3, 2019

The second half of September brought announcements of new programs and funding strategies aimed at growing Ohio companies, in addition to a Supreme Court decision that impacts hiring practices of companies who do business in the City of Cleveland.

New Ohio Technology Training Grant Program

The State of Ohio is seeking to help employers upskill their workforce by providing grant funding to offset the cost of technology credentialing through a new program called TechCred. Providing up to $2,000 per new technology credential and $30,000 in total of awards per employer, per award cycle, TechCred has already vetted many technology credentials as eligible training for the program. However, credentials not on the approved list may also be submitted. The TechCred application period is open from October 1 to October 31, 2019. Awards are made on a competitive scoring system based on a variety of factors, including pledged wage increase in relation to credentialing cost, level of economic distress in the applicant’s region and the amount of employer contribution towards the credential.

New JobsOhio Strategy Approved at September Board Meeting

At the September 30th Board meeting of JobsOhio, President JP Nauseef presented a new strategy for approval referred to as “JobsOhio 2.0.” One stand-out element of the new plan includes an expansion of current JobsOhio investment tools beyond loans and grants, so that equity and convertible debt would be available to earlier stage companies. Further, the new strategy will focus on supporting federal installations (like NASA), the quality, infrastructure and other economic development activities related to air service in Ohio, and improvement of digital connectivity across the state. In addition, Mr. Nauseef announced the commencement of three new strategies related to: (1) workforce talent attraction and development; (2) new grants related to planning, site preparation, commercial development and infrastructure related to job ready sites; and (3) expanded innovation investments, including the support of innovation districts. With Board approval, JobsOhio staff will begin developing and introducing operational plans, which will likely include new program guidelines.

Fannie Lewis Law Overturned

The Ohio Supreme Court overturned the City of Cleveland’s Fannie M. Lewis Cleveland Employment Law, which required that City of Cleveland residents provide at least 20% of the total construction hours worked for public contracts over $100,000. In 2016, the Ohio legislature passed House Bill 180 that prohibited residency requirements on public improvement contracts, in addition to barring governments from awarding bonuses or providing preference to contractors with bids that include employee residents within its municipal jurisdiction. The City of Cleveland contested the new legislation. While the lower courts sided with the City of Cleveland, last week, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decisions and ruled in favor of House Bill 180. As such, companies with contracts over $100,000 with the City of Cleveland no longer have to comply with the 20% labor residency requirement for construction contracts.

For more information about any of the programs or the court ruling, or if you have a growth opportunity and are interested in learning how to partner with state and local government to help it move forward, reach out to Economic Development partner Stephanie Mercado at smmercado@kjk.com or 216-736-7272.


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