Workforce development and fraud prevention
Each time that I walk into the Statehouse, I know that my colleagues and I will be working to address important issues facing Ohio. This certainly covers a broad range of topics and each deserves the attention of the state legislature. Two such issues have recently risen to the forefront of the House legislative agenda: workforce development and fraud in government agencies. In the coming months, important actions will be taken to better Ohio by increasing job training opportunities for job seeking Ohioans and routing out fraudulent practices in state government.
In terms of workforce development, the Ohio House Workforce Development Task Force recently conducted hearings throughout the state to collect testimony from job seekers, educational institutions, employers and employees. In five meetings across Ohio, the task force listened to feedback from those who are best informed about our existing workforce development programs. These individuals testified about what works and what needs to be improved to ensure that Ohioans have the necessary skills to fill the job positions available to them. All of our job creation efforts in the past year mean nothing without a capable workforce.
Going forward, the House plans to use the information gathered during these hearings to create a more effective system of development opportunities for hard-working job seekers. Ohio is a state full of dedicated, motivated individuals, and I want to be sure that we help them to be successful in today’s job market.
In a different area, the state legislature is also making great strides in fraud prevention and misuse of public funds. Governor Kasich recently signed into law House Bill 66, to take effect in early May. This legislation requires the Auditor of State to create a fraud-reporting system for residents and public employees. The system will allow individuals to anonymously report misuse of public money and fraud by public offices. It also protects employees against retaliatory firing by extending whistle-blower protections if they alert the system to fraudulent practices.
Anti-fraud programs have been proven to yield real results. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, nearly 50 percent of all fraud discovered in government agencies is detected through tips. By giving our citizens a consequence-free way to report instances of fraud, we can effectively protect taxpayer money and other public funds from suspect activity.
Workforce development and fraud prevention certainly are not the only priorities in the state legislature, but they are crucial to address if we are to promote prosperity and government accountability in Ohio. As we move into spring, I will strive to keep you updated on these issues and others under review in the House.
State Representative 16th Ohio House District