October marks the second annual Manufacturing Month in Ohio. The manufacturing industry has always been a huge part of Ohio's economy, but it has played an even more significant role in the economic recovery that we have been experiencing over the past two years.

October marks the second annual Manufacturing Month in Ohio. The manufacturing industry has always been a huge part of Ohioís economy, but it has played an even more significant role in the economic recovery that we have been experiencing over the past two years.

The industry also holds a particularly important role in Southern and Southeastern Ohio as it supplies many of the necessary tools and equipment needed to fuel the stateís growing oil and natural gas industries.

Statewide, 115,500 people are employed in the manufacturing industry, earning an average wage of about $67,000. The industry has proven itself a time-tested way of life for our region. Thatís no less true for the manufacturing industry of tomorrow.

Corresponding perfectly with Ohio Manufacturing Month, Iím excited to announce that on October 11, Senate Bill 1 went into full effect in the Buckeye State. This legislation, which I sponsored with Senator Bill Beagle, creates the Ohio Means Jobs Workforce Revolving Loan Program, which aims to increase the opportunities for Ohioans to move themselves into the stateís in-demand job sectors.

The program will specifically target institutions and career colleges with existing ties and relationships to local industry and businesses. These already established relationships will improve student instruction by ensuring the curriculum imparts the skills needed by local industry. The partnership also will give students additional connections for quick job placement after graduation.

Coordination between these entities will positively affect the relationships between local vocational schools such as Zane State College, Ohio University and their local affiliates, and employers throughout our region.

The program is being funded with $25 million in existing casino licensure fees, thus placing no additional financial burden on the stateís taxpayers. The loans will be available through public and private colleges, universities, and career and technical centers. Each institution can apply for up to $100,000 and loan up to $10,000 per student, annually.

There are tens of thousands of open job positions in Ohio, just waiting for qualified applicants. Through this exciting, new program, we can better pair Ohioans with long-term career fields where they can make a difference and thrive.

To learn more about how the Ohio Means Jobs Revolving Loan, contact one of our local vocational schools or simply reach out to my office in the Statehouse by calling 614-466-8076 or emailing me at Balderson@OhioSenate.gov.

Sen. Balderson represents the 20th District in the Ohio Senate, which is comprised of Fairfield, Guernsey, Hocking, Morgan, and Muskingum Counties and portions of Athens and Pickaway Counties. He presides as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Learn more at www.OhioSenate.gov/Balderson.