NEWARK — Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann attended the CCAO Workforce, Families and Children Symposium last week at Cherry Valley Hotel in Licking County. The symposium provided an environment for county commissioners, county officials and leading experts to connect, inform and learn about important issues every county faces.
“CCAO’s Symposium gave us Commissioners a great opportunity to look at real challenges facing the counties in supplying a ready workforce, and addressing the needs of our workforce in the areas of childcare and housing. These are pertinent topics being discussed in Shelby County, and the speakers gave me a better understanding as we try to solve them locally,” said Ehemann.
Thursday’s first session, Supporting Ohio’s Workforce: A Conversation about Child Care, included insight from experts including Steve Stivers, Ohio Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, on the trend of individuals leaving the workforce due to lack of access to childcare. The panel highlighted the need to expand eligibility and increase capacity of daytime childcare as well as second and third shift care to accommodate diverse work schedules.
Thursday also featured a session regarding Ohio’s evolving workforce, with insights from business development and private sector innovators such as JP Nauseef, President and CEO of JobsOhio, and Emily Smith, Director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability at Intel. Specifically, the session addressed how Ohio employers look to attract and retain talent in a competitive job market by addressing the evolving needs of Ohio’s workforce.
Additional presentations focused on challenges faced by children service agencies, including the rising cost of child placement. Mary Wachtel, Director of Public Policy for Public Children Services Association of Ohio, detailed the ongoing challenges counties face in locating and funding the placement of children with severe mental and behavioral health needs. These challenges are exacerbated by difficulties in children service personnel retention, brought on by high stress environments and navigating numerous regulatory requirements.
Friday kicked off with a session moderated by Ehemann addressing the topic of Affordable Housing. Following that, Matt Damschroder, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, provided a state legislative update, informing attendees about how current state policy affects the human services realm. Other discussions on Friday focused on issues regarding children, such as early intervention services and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
The County Commissioners Association of Ohio mission is to advance effective county government for Ohio through legislative advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and research, quality enterprise service programs, and greater citizen awareness and understanding of county government.