Many of the bills passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor earlier this year have recently gone into effect. One of those pieces of legislation is House Bill 429, sponsored by my colleagues Representative Niraj Antani of the Dayton region and Representative Bill Reineke from northwestern Ohio. The bill encourages workforce development, particularly in the automotive industry, an issue that has been a priority of the Ohio House.
House Bill 429 allows automotive mechanics at retail service centers and auto dealerships to participate in the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program, granted the individual fulfills the program’s other requirements. This program is an initiative to promote workforce development by providing financial assistance to employers who train employees already on their payroll. The program is a win-win for all parties—employees get the benefit of additional training through their workplace, growing companies are reimbursed for the costs of training, and the state reaps the economic benefit from more skilled workers and more successful businesses. With a focus on in-demand professions like advanced manufacturing and information technology, automotive technicians at retail stores can also now participate in the program through the passage of this bill.
Additionally, House Bill 429 permits autocycles to be driven by individuals with a conventional driver’s license. An autocycle is a three-wheeled motorcycle that is equipped with safety belts, a steering wheel, and seating that does not require the rider to straddle the vehicle to ride it. Previously, the law required a motorcycle license to drive such vehicles. With the removal of this restriction, more Ohioans can purchase and operate autocycles, leading to an increase in production and jobs at companies that manufacture the vehicles.
One such company is Polaris Industries, which has a factory location right here in Wilmington. To mark the occasion of House Bill 429 going into effect, I had the opportunity to join some of my fellow legislators for a tour of the company’s facilities this week. Not only do they manufacture autocycles, but they also produce other powersport vehicles, such as ATVs and snowmobiles. I was able to take a drive in one of their autocycles, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of these unique vehicles on the road.
Polaris Industries is a thriving job creator in southwestern Ohio in an in-demand field, and it is important to break down barriers for such businesses to promote greater economic success for not only the business and their employees, but for the region and the entire state. With a more developed and advanced workforce, Ohioans can obtain the skills for the jobs they want and businesses can continue to flourish.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.