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Manufacturing Workforce Conference is Oct. 28

September 30, 2016

The Ohio Engineering Technology Educators Association (OETEA) has planned a conference – Building Ohio’s Future Workforce – on Friday, October 28 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Columbus State Community College, Workforce Development Building.

The focus of this conference is increasing the number of youth in engineering technologies, starting in high school and through higher education, to meet the needs of Ohio manufacturers.

The conference presents a model first employed by Honda, which has since been replicated at other key industries, and provides a framework that can be adapted by attendees to meet the skilled workforce demands of Ohio’s advanced manufacturing.

Here is a draft agenda and a one-pager about OETEA.  You can register here.

School “Report Card Chaos”

September 30, 2016

The state recently released testing results for Ohio’s schools and school districts.  Scores dropped dramatically from prior years, causing confusion and uncertainty for parents and communities.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has built comparative databases, and narrative, to help us all better understand what’s happened and how our schools stack up.

Click here to find a comparison of your district’s scores to all the scores across the state.

Click here to see a calculation of how your school has performed on state tests the last five years, compared to the average scores of other schools.

And, learn how Ohio reached “report card chaos” here.

The paper advises:  “Don’t look for grades or for how many points more or less your school scored. Scoring has changed so much from year to year that a direct comparison is hard. These charts instead give a statistical look at how much scores deviated from the average test results statewide in each of those years.”  9/26/2016

21 States File Lawsuit Challenging the Changes to the Overtime Exemption Rule

September 23, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, posted that ” … officials from 21 states filed suit in the Eastern District of Texas challenging the constitutionality of the Department of Labor’s overtime exemption rule changes. These changes were announced in May of this year and will raise the minimum salary level for the executive, administrative and professional employee exemptions to $47,476 per year, more than double the current minimum salary. This new threshold becomes effective on December 1, 2016.”

And: “Although this lawsuit is an important development, employers are well-advised to continue examining the classification of members of their workforce in accordance with the changes announced by the FLSA in May. Employers should continue working on plans to ensure compliance by December 1, 2016.”

Read more from Dinsmore about the legal challenge9/22/2016

Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program Offers New Round of Funding

September 23, 2016

Thousands of Ohio employees have received training to advance their careers through the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program, and now that number will increase because round five is rapidly approaching.

Training in the following high-demand fields is eligible: Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Aviation, Automotive Manufacturing, Automotive Technicians, BioHealth, Corporate Headquarters, Energy, Financial Services, Food Processing, Information Technology and Services, Polymers and Chemicals, Logistics, or Research and Development.

Training opportunities include, but are not limited to, operational skills training, certification processes and equipment training. Training can occur at the employer’s facility, the provider’s training facility or at a third-party site.

The Ohio Development Services Agency reimburses qualifying employers for up to 50% of the eligible training costs, up to $4,000 per employee, after 1) the employer pays the full cost of the training, and 2) the employee successfully completes the training. The maximum amount an employer may qualify for in a fiscal year is $75,000. The company must be in operation for at least 12 months in Ohio to participate.

Eligible businesses can begin the online application process on September 26, 2016 and will have three weeks to gather the necessary information to complete their application. The online applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and can be submitted beginning at 10:00 a.m. on October 14, 2016.

Learn more here 9/22/2016

ODE Releases School Report Cards

September 16, 2016

The Department of Education (ODE) has released 2015-16 state report cards results revealing how schools did in the first year of taking new standardized tests and meeting what are considered to be more rigorous standards.

“Ohio has raised expectations for students to reflect what is necessary for them to be successful in college, careers and life. This year’s report cards and the grades we’re seeing reflect a system in transition,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria said in a media statement.

According to ODE, Ohio School Report Cards give your community a clear picture of the progress of your district and schools in raising achievement and preparing students for the future.  The information measures district and school performance in the areas most critical to success in learning.  Ohio School Report Cards data shows educators, school administrators and families where their schools are succeeding as well as areas where they need to improve.  9/15/2016

Be Careful when Counting Mandatory Overtime as Leave Under FMLA

September 16, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Frantz Ward, posts that the issue of calculating mandatory overtime as part of an employee’s FMLA leave entitlement was recently addressed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Hernandez v. Bridgestone Ams. Tire Operations.

In the case, “… the Court held that employer … had improperly interfered with the employee’s FMLA rights because, in calculating the number of hours to which the employee was entitled under FMLA, the employer did not include mandatory overtime.”

Read more here9/15/2016

EEOC Issues Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation

September 2, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, reports that allegations of retaliation account for approximately 45% of all charges received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), making retaliation the most frequently alleged basis for discrimination.

On August 29, 2016, the EEOC issued its final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues to replace its 1998 Compliance Manual section on retaliation.

The EEOC has issued two accompanying documents: a question-and-answer publication that summarizes the guidance, and a Small Business Fact Sheet that condenses the major points in the guidance.

Dinsmore summarizes:  “Claims of retaliation show no sign of letting up, so employers are encouraged to review the new Guidance to understand the EEOC’s position on retaliation.”  8/31/2016

Joint Committee on Unemployment Compensation Kicks Off

August 26, 2016

This week the House and Senate Joint Committee on Unemployment Compensation Reform kicked off its series of hearings.

In testimony, Bruce Madson, Assistant Director, Employment Services, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, provided a historical overview, solvency report, and total system review for the committee members.  He also said that the state is likely pay off the remaining portion of its federal debt next week.

He stated the agency estimated the temporary state employer surcharge next year to be $54/employee.  With the debt paid off and the addition of the surcharge employers will be looking at a net savings per employee of $72 in 2017.

The next committee hearing is slated for September 15th.  Members interested in participating in the hearings can contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett8/25/2016

“Blacklisting rule” for Federal Contractors Published in Federal Register

August 26, 2016

The final rule implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, Dept. of Labor (DOL) guidance and a revised executive order are now public and will be published in the Federal Register today.

The following links provide references:

Final Rule from Department of Defense, NASA and GSA
Guidance from the Department of Labor
Revised Executive Order
Amended Version of Original Executive Order
Administration Fact Sheet on Final Rule

The NAM released a statement of opposition to the rule this week, stressing that changes made do not alter the concerns raised by its members or make these regulations any more necessary to achieving a contractor base that complies with labor laws.  NAM said it would continue to pursue legislative language to stop implementation of this rule as well as pursue legal avenues available in coalition with other groups.  8/24/2016

The Pot-Ential Impact Of Medical Marijuana On Your Workplace

August 26, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler, posted this guidance for employers:  “Having a drug-free workplace policy in effect prior to any employment issue arising is important, because certain provisions in the law acknowledge, and uphold, an employer’s right to a drug-free workplace policy and/or zero-tolerance policy regulating the use of medical marijuana. A formal policy is the best way to shield yourself from employment claims and to protect your employees.”

Read more from Bricker here8/19/2016