VIDEO: Portman Touts Innovative Manufacturing Efforts Across Ohio After Virtual Meeting

October 14, 2020 | Portman Difference

In a new video, Senator Portman highlights his recent virtual meeting with MAGNET, the Ohio Manufacturers Association, and manufacturers from across Ohio, where he discussed ongoing efforts to help manufacturers innovate in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to keep employees on payroll including some shifting to manufacture to PPE.  

Portman also discusses how funding from the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Actwhich he supported, has helped manufacturers stay afloat during these tumultuous economic times. Portman also notes how manufacturers have used loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to keep workers on the payroll during the pandemic.  

A transcript of the video can be found below and the video can be found here. 

“You know, as we work to respond to this COVID-19 health care and economic crisis, I'm staying in touch with stakeholders all around Ohio who are trying to navigate this tough time. I just wrapped up another Zoom call with a group called MAGNET, which is a Northeast Ohio manufacturing advocacy group, also with the Ohio Manufacturers Association, and most importantly, some of Northeast Ohio's manufacturers, to hear how they've been impacted over the past several months. Ohio is home to the third largest manufacturing industry behind California and Texas. And the men and women who work on the floors of our factories produce some of the best stuff in the world. From Goodyear tires on our cars to the GE aviation engines that propel our planes through the sky. 

“But when the coronavirus first began to spread, a lot of Ohio manufacturers were hard-hit by the initial economic downturn, including a lot of the people I talked to today. I heard how the bipartisan CARES Act, which passed Congress, helped out these manufacturers. In particular, a lot of them took advantage of what's called the Paycheck Protection Program. These are mostly smaller and mid-sized manufacturers who got low-interest loans that converted into grants if they're used for payroll and other essential expenses like rent or mortgage. This really helped a lot of these manufacturers weather the storm and keep their workers on the payroll. 

“As we began to respond to this crisis, we saw that a lot of our manufacturers in Ohio also stepped up and played an important role in producing PPE, the personal protective gear. I talked to companies today that produced shields and produced gowns and produced masks. And that's really neat, too, that they took the opportunity to help give back to their community and to provide a need that was there. It also kept a lot of their workers engaged.

 

I'm encouraged by what I heard on the call. I got a lot of good ideas, including what's needed in the next coronavirus package, including an extension of the PPP program, the Paycheck Protection Program, but also ensuring that the Healthy Workplace Act, my legislation, passes, which is a tax credit for companies that provide things like Plexiglas or gloves or other PPE or can reconfigure their factories to make them safer. This is exactly what we should be doing -- getting people back to work, getting them back to work safely, and that legislation will really help, according to them. 

The final thing I heard about was the need for more workers that we need to get more people back to work. And we talked about the challenges that I'm hearing around the state of child care, that, until we get a better child care system going, given the fact that schools are open and closed and open and closed, it's tough for a lot of people to go back to work, but also just the need for us to encourage people to get the training they need to get the jobs that are out there in manufacturing, because the jobs are available. They're good jobs with good benefits. And luckily, the economic rebound in the manufacturing sector has been pretty strong.

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