Business leaders of Central Ohio discussed ways to make Ohio business boom in hopes that it would help students find jobs after graduation.
U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers and Christine A. Poon, dean of the Fisher College of Business, hosted a job forum Wednesday at Fisher to discuss ways to create and keep jobs in Central Ohio.
A panel of business leaders gave their thoughts and opinions on what Ohio needs to do to be competitive in the business world.
“The intellectual property that sits at this university is a tremendous help to this state. We need to scale it up and monetize it,” said Dwight Smith, CEO of Sophisticated Systems, an information technology consulting company. “Ohio State, Battelle and TechColumbus is something we need to take to the next level.”
According to their websites, TechColumbus helps launch technology start up companies. Battelle is an independent research and development organization.
“Ohio State has great academic minds. We just need to harness that power to create jobs,” Stivers said.
Poon advises that students “mix it up” in order to be more appealing to potential employers.
“To distinguish yourself in the job market, take advantage of all the diverse options. If you’re getting a degree in business get a minor in a language. If you’re a science major minor in business,” Poon said. “It says so much about your work ethic beyond the GPA. Those are qualities employers are looking for.”
As well as commercializing Columbus’s intellectual property, business leaders said it was important to minimize taxes.
“We need to somehow simplify the tax system. People miss the macroeconomic issues,” said Mark Swepston, president of Atlas Butler, a heating and cooling solutions company, and OSU graduate. “We’ve lost our leadership in creating things the rest of the world wants. … We’ve got to make Ohio the greatest place to come to.”
Swepston said he thought OSU and Battelle can move business forward.
Business leaders also said Ohio needs to take advantage of the resources in its backyard.
“When headquarters of businesses are here, those dollars stay here and help build that community,” Stivers said.
Stephen Hitch, a fourth-year in accounting and finance, said he plans on applying for 12 jobs but doesn’t graduate until the end of summer.
“I haven’t fully gotten into the process yet, but I have a feeling it’s not going to be easy. I’m playing it by ear,” Hitch said.
The issue of transitioning between careers was also discussed.
“In the old days, if you lost a job, you would go down the street and get the same type of job,” Smith said. “Entire job categories are going away. We need to be efficient in transitioning jobs.”
Unemployment pays for people to sit at home and apply for jobs but offers no transition help, Stivers said.
“Billions of dollars of work force development are not linked to unemployment,” Stivers said. “It absolutely needs to be changed.”
Companies in the Central Ohio area are working to create a stronger bond and strengthen their companies in order to move business forward.
John Ness, president of ODW Logistics, Inc., a transportation services company, said he plans to train the unemployed people who are “committed, driven and ready to learn” which will help the economy grow stronger.
“There’s nothing like going through a fire and getting refined,” Ness said.
Stivers said there is a lot of work to do at home and in Washington, but he promised to help move the ball forward to make America competitive again.
The ability of our American companies to create jobs is directly related to how our society is doing, he said.
“The point that we came here to talk about is to make sure that when Ohio State students graduate, that they get a job,” Stivers said.