Senator Rob Portman talks about the future of the auto industry - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Senator Rob Portman talks about the future of the auto industry in Ohio

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The General Motors Lordstown complex played host Friday to a visit by U.S. Senator Rob Portman.

As the co-chair of the Senate Auto Caucus, Portman says he has been visiting many of Ohio's auto plants, meeting with both labor and management to discuss the state of the industry and its future. “Talking about what we can do in Washington to make it even better and there are things that can and should be done to make our auto companies even more competitive,” Portman said.

The Senator says with major investments over the past year, GM has demonstrated a commitment to the Lordstown complex. “The work force understands that, management understands that. They are going to be sure and earn the confidence GM has shown in Lordstown and in our region,” Portman said

Portman says there is a skills gap in America that needs to be addressed now more than ever. At Lordstown, nearly half the workforce is eligible for retirement. “Here at the plant today I talked to both union representatives and management about that issue. Same thing, they're looking for more skilled workers. They're concerned about the aging workforce,” Portman said.

One way to address the gap is to provide and encourage more skills training for young people. “To look at PTE, what used to be called vocational schools, because there’s some great opportunities there for young people to get the skills they need while they're still in high school,” Portman said.

Plant spokesman Tom Mock said training will be needed to fill positions in the plant. “You're also looking at strong technological backgrounds that's important to. And you have to be able to build and fix. It's what we do every day,” Mock said

Before leaving the plant, 21 News asked Senator Portman about a possible run for the GOP nomination for President. He left the door open saying, “But I'm also going to look and see who runs. I think the country is in trouble. I think there are things that have to be done to get this economy moving again that are not being done in Washington.”

For now, Portman is planning to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate.


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