October 2011 News from Policy Matters Ohio: High Honors, High Road, Higher Wages

- October 10, 2011

High Honors (for Shanelle) – We are immensely proud to announce that Shanelle Smith, our partner with the BlueGreen Alliance, will receive the Ohio Environmental Council’s 2011 Achievement Award as “One to Watch” at this year’s Green Gala. OEC is honoring Shanelle for her leadership in trying to make Cleveland an Emerald City, and in organizing businesses, government, labor and community to create good green jobs, more renewable communities, and a more sustainable Ohio. Get your ticket here.

High Road (for Car-Makers) – This week, Tim Krueger and Hannah Halbert testified to the House Study Committee on Workforce Development about training auto supply workers. Drawing on primary research by Case Western and Policy Matters, they observed that firms paying competitive wages experienced fewer skill shortages among their workers and recovered from the recession more quickly than those who didn’t.

Higher Wages (for Minimum Wage Workers) – Policy Matters joined the National Employment Law Project in applauding Ohio’s announcement that the minimum wage will jump from $7.40 to $7.70, starting January 1. The extra $624 a year for full-time minimum wage workers will help struggling families and communities in tough economic times.

Low Budgets – Recent Policy Matters reports have documented steep cuts to social service programs and local government in Ohio through state and federal budget decision-making that stresses austerity. In this Toledo Blade op-ed, Wendy Patton called for an approach that balances cuts with creation, preservation and allocation of revenue streams for needed services.

Low Performance On Monday, the Ohio Department of Education released a list of charter school sponsors that will be restricted from contracting with new schools due to poor performance, under a new law passed in June. Piet van Lier critiqued the accountability measure as being too weak: Only small sponsors are affected, which means that larger sponsors that oversee the bulk of struggling charters will be allowed to start new schools at will. In late September, Piet also weighed in on how education at many Ohio charters has suffered due to lack of oversight, in this Learning Matters dialogue.

Don’t Miss – David Rothstein will present at ‘Building a Nonprofit Advocacy Toolkit’, a free workshop from the Mandel Center Alumni Association on Thursday, October 13, 4:00-6:00 pm. Click here to register, and build your nonprofit’s capacity for strategic planning, communications and effective advocacy.

Amy Hanauer joins a Cleveland panel discussion on collective bargaining and women’s workplace issues Tuesday, October 18 at 10:00 am at Trinity Cathedral (2242 Euclid Avenue). In Columbus, Hannah Halbert will join a We Are Ohio panel on Issue 2 at the J. Ashburn Youth Center (85 S. Clarendon Avenue) on October 12, at 6:00 pm, and at the Smyrna Baptist Church (1650 Wilson Avenue) on October 26 at 6:00 pm. For more on collective bargaining, read our research roundup, including this new piece critiquing a deeply flawed study on public sector compensation commissioned by the Ohio business roundtable.

That’s all,
The Policy Matters Team

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