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Testing our mettle — Ohio safe, Ohio working

COVID-19 has certainly disrupted life as we know it. While many of us may have experienced fear and anxiety that accompanies uncertainty, I find solace in a saying my parents used to share, “you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it.” As I have watched Ohioans respond to this crisis with courage and resolve, I am confident we will emerge stronger than ever.

For those who may not know my background, I grew up in an Air Force family and first experienced Ohio’s values and sense of community when we moved to Dayton from Washington, D.C., in 1978. Like many military families we had no roots here, but Ohio welcomed us with open arms and left an invaluable imprint on my life. It is why my wife and I decided to move back from Southern California to Ohio and raise our children here. In Ohio, we really do stick together and help each other. There is a true sense of community and humanity that many Ohioans feel, but because we are often very humble (a positive Ohio trait), we’re sometimes challenged to articulate to non-Ohioans. In fact, it’s even a little uncomfortable for me to write this.

We can all see this dynamic in our state’s response, which has been inspiring. I am proud of the leadership of the DeWine/Husted administration and it’s gratifying to see the rest of the world take notice. Ohio is leading the way and as our state continues to open, Ohioans are rolling up their sleeves, innovating and supporting each other with grit determination, and ingenuity, demonstrating more evidence why Ohio is the best place to live, work, and pursue your American dream.

The JobsOhio team is committed to doing our part to help keep Ohio safe and working. Since March 17th, we have invested more than $250 million in new programs designed to soften the impact of COVID19 on Ohio’s small businesses and workers. To date, these programs have helped over 15,000 small businesses and over 300,000 Ohio jobs. While our team is very honored to be able to support our fellow Ohioans in this way, there is still much more work to be done.

With this in mind, JobsOhio, along with Regional Partners (Ohio SE, DDC, Team NEO, RGP, One Columbus, and REDI Cincinnati) are distributing 15,000 Safety Tool Kits, consisting of much-needed PPE for small businesses with 100 employees or less. These kits will provide 1.6 million masks and 15,000 units of hand sanitizer to businesses across the state. Distribution of these PPE Kits across Ohio begins this coming week.

While we wish it was under different circumstances, these unique challenges have pushed us to serve and team up with partners in new ways, expanding our perspective of what can be accomplished together. Helping Ohioans during these difficult times has been an honor for me and our entire organization and an opportunity of a lifetime.

We are not a fly-over state, we are not a rust-belt state. We are Ohio. And Ohio sticks together.

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