As he campaigned for governor, John Kasich often argued Ohio needed to be more business friendly, with fewer regulations and red tape, to encourage job growth.
But he also touted job training programs to help fill jobs that were open.
Businesses leaders, he said, frequently cited difficulty finding people trained with the skills needed to fill jobs. He estimated there could be as many as 80,000 such jobs in Ohio.
With that in mind, Kasich promised to create a voucher program to help do just that.
"How about vouchering out all the job training programs and giving it to the businesses, including small businesses, and letting them drive the curriculum at our technical schools and our community colleges so we begin to train people and retrain people for jobs that exist and those we think are going to come,” he said during an appearance at the City Club of Cleveland.
When PolitiFact Ohio last gauged the governor"s progress toward fulfilling this pledge, the Kasich-O-Meter pointed to In the Works.
Legislators had approved language creating a voucher program in the 2012-2013 biennium, but the program was still on the drawing board.
The budget included $20 million to fund the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Vouchers for fiscal 2012 and another $30 million for fiscal 2013. But the money was to be generated by taxes on four new casinos in the state, which were not yet open when that budget was approved.
The casinos began to open in 2012, starting with Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland in May. It was followed quickly by Toledo, and then Columbus in the fall. The fourth casino opened in early 2013 in Cincinnati.
In the meantime, the administration drew up rules for governing the program.
The state launched the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program Jan. 8, 2013.
Ohio companies applying for the program maxed out the first year allotment, signing up to receive more than $20 million in employee training vouchers within the first 24 hours, according to Stephanie Gostomski, a communications officer for the Ohio Development Services Agency.
To be eligible for a training grant, a company must have been in continuous operation in the state for a year, and be engaged in one of several areas of business. Among those: advanced manufacturing, aerospace and aviation, automotive, biohealth, energy, financial services, food processing and information technology.
The training grant, up to $4,000 a year per employee, can be used to reimburse a company for up to half the cost of a qualifying job training program. Generally those include classes from accredited educational institutions, training that leads to an industry-recognized certification or in conjunction with the company"s purchase of new equipment and training that improves computer skills.
As of June 18, 2013, the state had encumbered nearly $19 million toward training programs for more than 440 applications, said Rob Nichols, a spokesman for the governor. Of that amount, the state had actually received 50 requests for reimbursement totaling more nearly $181,000.
Kasich"s campaign promise was to create a voucher program that would help businesses pay for job training. With kickoff this year of the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program, we can set the Kasich-O-Meter for this pledge to Promise Kept.