Gov. John Kasich made his first speech as governor on a global stage this morning as part of a panel discussion on advanced manufacturing at the World Economic Forum. The Republican governor delivered, as planned, an account of his plans to better align Ohio's worker training and education programs to better fit businesses' demands and a pitch to companies regarding the state's improved economic situation.
DAVOS, Switzerland -- Gov. John Kasich made his first speech as governor on a global stage this morning as part of a panel discussion on advanced manufacturing at the World Economic Forum.
The Republican governor delivered, as planned, an account of his plans to better align Ohio's worker training and education programs to better fit businesses' demands and a pitch to companies regarding the state's improved economic situation. Among the new items Kasich divulged:
He expects Ohio's rainy day fund to hit $1 billion on June 30.
Accenture is helping the state craft an on-line program for businesses to divulge their short and long-term workforce needs.
He touted the "additive manufacturing" capabilities of the Edison Welding Institute in Columbus.
Kasich was joined on the panel was Jean-Paul Herteman, chief executive officer of the French Safran Group; Andres Renchler, chief executive of Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses in Germany; Anand Sharma, commerce minister of India. The panel was moderated by Richard Baldwin, international economics professor at the Swiss Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.
Below is a transcript of Kasich's opening remarks, which followed a lead-in question from Baldwin. Each speaker made an opening statement and later took questions, and some of Kasich's statements were based on some of the other participants' comments.
To read how Kasich's comments were received and get an update on Kasich's other activities, please check Friday's print and on-line editions of The Dispatch.
Baldwin: "Your state is at the heart of what people are calling reshoring, or the American manufacturing renaissance. Do you view this as sort of a lasting trend, or is this just a bump on the road – the road which takes us to all manufacturing jobs going to Asia?"
Kasich: "Well, first of all, people would like to have access to the North American market, and with the transportation costs, we see a number of companies on-shoring to Ohio. Just a couple of things – we're within 600 miles of 60 percent of the country, so right away it makes sense to be in Ohio.
"But I think what is maybe even more fundamental than that, I mean we do have DNA in our bones when it comes to manufacturing, but two years ago when I entered office we were $8 billion in the hole. Our budget is about $52 billion a year – 15, 16 percent of our, we had 15 percent of our budget was in the hole. And we're going to end this fiscal year we think with probably a $1 billion surplus, also with an improved credit outlook. So Ohio is very stable.
"And so what we're trying to do in our state is to diversify so that we not only do manufacturing but we can do a variety of other things as well.
"In the manufacturing area, even though Ohio is doing better, you know, we're out of debt, we're growing, we're now the fifth-fastest growing state in the country, we think that workforce, he (Herteman) was just talking about, is such a critical issue. I'm devoting an enormous amount of time to workforce, and the biggest challenge is getting the companies to tell us what they need, their forecasting, to tell us what they need in the short run and what they need in the intermediate run. And they get a call from the government saying 'what's your forecast," they usually throw the call slips in the trash can.
"So we are building a process using market data, also using a website powered by Monster, and also a tool developed by Accenture to get companies to start telling us what they need. Our goal is to integrate the business community into the academic environment. And also starting even in the high school, because we believe that vocational education, where people decide they want to do things with their hands. But now it's not hands anymore. It's not just hands and brains.
"We talk about additive manufacturing, I just, we are a leader in additive manufacturing right in Columbus, Ohio. The Edison Welding Institute has one of these 100 machines in the world where they can develop, they can print out and develop huge parts. It is just absolutely remarkable. And they can put these parts together in such a way that they can bring different materials. And as a result of that, companies like GE, which is worried about being able to fly planes faster, have strong materials and yet less fuel costs, are using this kind of technology.
"Here's the beauty of it – when you think about robotics, when you think about additive manufacturing, when you think about all these things, the first question you want to ask yourself, I'm the son of a mailman, is this going to put people out of work? And consistently across the board the answer is no.
"What this will mean is that it will bring great value to the operation that any worker must conduct. And the worker will actually get more pay. But the key is the education. So if you're going to run a C&C machine today, you've got to be a lot smarter than what you would've been 40 years ago when you were involved in manufacturing. So we see the advancement of manufacturing resulting in higher productivity, we think the assets that we have in the United States, particularly in Ohio where there are great engineering schools, are really the ticket that companies want.
"The key is to get all of you, the CEOS, to tell us what you need, so that when a young person goes to college, or when a young person is in the 10th or 11th grade in our primary school, they can look at a menu list. These are the jobs that are available, this is what it will pay and this is what it will take to get one of those jobs.
"There are very few places in the world where we have figured out workforce training. This is one of the great demands for businesses today. We want to be one of the first movers, and we believe if we're a first mover that not only will re-shoring occur, but we also believe that we will see a tremendous growth in manufacturing inside of our state.
"Finally, in America and in our state, there was a message that's been delivered over the last decade or so. If you go into manufacturing you probably won't make more money and you might lose your job. So part of our job is to tell moms and dads, there's an old song, an old song, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys. Well I've got a new one: Please let your kids grow up to be in manufacturing. They can have a great career, they can make a lot of money, and they can be involved in some of the most exciting technologies that you can imagine.
"There is a revolution going on and it is both evolutionary and revolutionary, and wow, is it fun."