NILES - In a visit here Monday, Gov. John Kasich trumpeted job creation in Ohio since the day his administration ''walked in the door'' - up from 48th under the last administration to fifth now, according to the Republican - and he laid down his plans to continue the growth through training and education.
''Since January 2011, Ohio is now the number-one job-producing state in the Midwest'' and seventh in the United States the last year, said Kasich, using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released Monday to extol the Buckeye State's turnaround since he became governor in 2011.
''Folks, that makes me feel great because kind of the way I was raised is to think about what you can do to help other folks be successful,'' said Kasich, who is running for a second term.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Gov. John Kasich, the guest speaker at Monday’s Mahoning Valley William McKinley Club dinner in Niles, talks about the state of Ohio’s economy. In the background is a bust of the 25th president of the United States, William McKinley, who was born in Niles in 1843.
Kasich was the guest speaker at the Mahoning Valley William McKinley Club dinner, held annually to observe the birthday of the 25th U.S. President William McKinley, who was born in Niles in 1843.
Among other numbers Kasich threw out to the crowd of mostly Republicans, but some Democrats, at the Niles McKinley Library Auditorium was that Ohio is up 238,000 jobs ''in the three-year period of time in which this administration has been charge.''
Kasich drew sharp criticism from the campaign of his presumed Democratic challenger, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, and from Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras.
''There's been nothing miraculous about John Kasich's economy for the middle class families of the Mahoning Valley,'' said Daniel McElhatton, FitzGerald's campaign communications director.
Betras continued that theme: ''Kasich's ongoing obsession with providing hefty tax cuts for his wealthy donors at the expense of working families, public schools and universities, public safety and other vital local government services is eroding the quality of life here in the Valley and across Ohio.''
Betras is also calling for greater investment in public education and on infrastructure, both ''essential to business attraction and job creation.''
Kasich said the state has put $1 billion in kindergarten through 12th grade education, ''the largest increase in a decade,'' and his mid-biennium review of the budget addresses problems in education and includes tax cuts ''to have ourselves in a position to grow more jobs.''
In the works and nearly ready to be rolled out, said Kasich, is a system in which students in Ohio can see ''in-demand'' jobs ''so that when you are a student you get trained for something that exists, not something that is just purely theoretical.''
The website that will be available in a limited form next month also will be provided to universities and community colleges, and it will let students see what jobs are in-demand, what those jobs pay and what it takes to get those jobs.
Ohio also is bringing vocational education to the seventh grade and working on plans to give students an alternative way to earn a high school diploma.