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Monday, September 18, 2023
Tyler Lowry, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-6630
Robin Ross, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-2392

The Franklin County Commissioners today played host to former labor secretary and senior advisor to the president, Tom Perez, as they toured a Building Futures worksite and then attended a town hall meeting at the county courthouse.  Building Futures is an award-winning county jobs program that helps low-income residents get onto the path to success in the middle class.  Perez, who currently serves as senior advisor to the president and director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs visited the Iron Workers’ training facility on Parsons Avenue and met with Building Futures graduate apprentices and staff.  Following the tour, Perez, led a moderated town hall meeting to hear from Franklin County residents about the issues that matter most to them as part of a series of events called Communities in Action: Building a Better America, which aims to celebrate the administration’s efforts to create opportunities for families nationwide.
“The investments that the Biden Harris administration has made in communities like ours are making real differences in the lives of Franklin County families,” said Board of Commissioners President, John O’Grady.  “And Building Futures is an investment that the county is making to support both struggling residents and our local economy, which is in dire need of more hard-working tradespeople.”
Building Futures was created by the commissioners in 2018, and represents a partnership with the Columbus Building and Construction Trades Council, the NAACP, and local non-profit Creating Central Ohio Futures to provide pre-apprenticeship training to social services clients in order to set them on the path to middle class careers in the skilled building trades.  Students receive wrap-around services while they attend classes with local builders and craftspeople, and they have the opportunity learn more about the skilled building trades before being placed into an apprenticeship to learn a trade and begin climbing the economic ladder. 
Perez’s visit to Franklin County comes on the heels of a May announcement by the White House of Central Ohio as one of five “Workforce Hubs”, areas around the country where historic legislation passed by President Biden, including the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act are catalyzing private and public investments and creating good-paying jobs.
“Communities In Action is all about building a better America from the bottom up and the middle out.  It’s about learning about the issues that local families are facing, and about celebrating local leaders like the Franklin County Commissioners who are delivering real results for their residents with investments made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda,” said Director Perez.  “Building Futures is the kind of partnership that I think communities all over the country will want to replicate, and a very necessary initiative to create more skilled tradespeople in a community that’s growing as quickly as this one.”
Perez and other White House officials have headlined dozens of Communities In Action events during the past year, and today’s event represented the one-year anniversary of the meeting series kickoff.  Today’s meeting included remarks by all three commissioners and moderated discussions including a local iron worker, Saria-Gwin Maye, and both Mayor Ginther of Columbus and Mayor Pureval of Cincinnati.
“President Biden has been focused throughout his presidency on building American communities back to greatness following the pandemic and years of disinvestment,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce.  “His successes with legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act have provided opportunities for working families across the country and in Franklin County, and the county’s innovative workforce programs are helping our residents climb the ladder of economic opportunity.”
In addition to Building Futures, the commissioners have created and sponsor a number of progressive workforce development programs including, Roads2Work, which trains students for careers driving trucks, County Futures, which helps prepare low-income residents for jobs with the county itself, the career accelerator program, Women At Work, which helps women returning to the workforce following the pandemic, and Tech Women of Color, which trains low-income women of color for jobs in high-tech industries.
“Central Ohio is growing faster than at any time in recent history, this is partly due to the CHIP and Science Act, which is facilitating Intel’s billion-dollar expansion into our region,” said Commissioner Erica C. Crawley.  “As much as we are excited about our success and continued growth, we know we cannot be as successful as we could be if all of our neighbors don’t share in the success, which is why we keep working with our partners in the White House to help Franklin County families to thrive and not just survive.”
More information about Building Futures is available here, and you can learn more about the White House’s Investing In America agenda at