In 2018, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce launched Toledo REDI, or Re-Entry Development Initiative. REDI was formed in response to employers’ need to find more employees in a tight labor market. Our region continues to see low rates of unemployment and employers across all industries tell us finding employees is one of their biggest challenges to growing their company. As a result, in May 2018, more than 60 businesses attended the kick-off event to engage experts and hear some of the local success stories from both employers and employees.
At the end of March, Chamber staff helped to organize a national peer-group discussion on the issue. We joined Chamber leaders from across the county from places like Los Angeles, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Dayton, and Greenville, SC to take a deeper dive into the topic and exchange ideas on ways to help our individual communities.
You might be asking yourself, if unemployment was at 10% instead of 4% would the Chamber still be engaged in this effort? It might surprise to you to know that the answer is yes! As we examine economic data from the past, one of the best ways to shorten economic downtowns is by increasing the labor participation in communities. The more people who are working, the less severe and shorter the impacts.
Governor Mike DeWine was recently quoted by the National Reentry Resource Center on the issue. He said "reentry is about ensuring enhanced public safety, a good quality of life, and the opportunity for enjoying the benefits of citizenship for Ohioans that have paid their debt to society. I believe that everyone—no matter where they were born or who their parents are—deserves the chance to succeed, to get a good-paying job, to raise a family, and to be secure in their future."
The Chamber will continue to collaborate with businesses and other organizations in the community like The RIDGE Project, Goodwill, and the Re-Entry Coalition of Northwest Ohio to expand awareness and opportunities for growth.
To learn more about the Chamber’s effort or to get involved, please contact Brian Dicken, vice president for advocacy & public policy, at email@example.com.
As the Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy for the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Brian oversees the Chamber’s advocacy and public policy efforts with local, state and Federal governments. With nearly 20 years of experience, he has held positions in state government in the offices of the Ohio Lt. Governor, Ohio Auditor of State and Ohio Treasurer of State. He also worked for the late U.S. Representative Paul Gillmor and in the Office of the Vice President of the United States.