AURORA – This week, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) visited a local manufacturer in Aurora and toured its facilities. Founded in 1979 by an engineer who had developed armor for the United States Navy during World War II, Automation Plastics specializes in precision injection molding for automotive and consumer plastics. Thanks to a Protection Program (PPP) loan it received, Automation Plastics was able to retool and focus its efforts on producing components for cleaners and other much-needed sanitization devices during the pandemic. According to the Small Business Administration, the PPP loan that Automation Plastics received help them keep 119 skilled workers on payroll. Joining Joyce for his visit was Automation Plastics’ leadership, including President Harry Smith, as well as Portage County Economic Development Director Brad Ehrhart and City of Aurora Economic Development Director Holly Bane.
“It was great to meet with the folks at Automation Plastics, from their leadership to their employees,” said Joyce. “It’s always uplifting to see the on-the-ground success of the Paycheck Protection Program here in Northeast Ohio. As someone who has long supported policies to strengthen workforce training and close the skills gap, I was very impressed by the emphasis Automation Plastics places on training and retaining skilled workers. We need to continue to focus on recruiting and preparing the next generation for these important jobs so that we can rebuild our domestic manufacturing base and reduce our reliance on China for critical supplies. We’ve learned a lot from this pandemic, including the fact that those vulnerabilities must be addressed.”
“Like many companies in our local area, we have too many unfilled positions to keep up with our orders,” said Automation Plastics CEO Harry Smith. “Thanks to support from the Paycheck Protection Program along with tax incentives, we have been able to invest in the talent and the equipment needed to continue to grow.”
As a member of the Buy American Caucus, fighting for American jobs and supporting American manufacturing are two of Joyce’s top priorities. While manufacturing employs more than 12.5% of the Buckeye workforce, which is roughly 685,000 people, the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that of the almost 3.5 million manufacturing jobs that will likely be needed over the next decade, about 2 million are expected to go unfilled. Earlier this year, Joyce penned an op-ed in Crain’s Cleveland Business highlighting the need to boost career and technical education, support domestic manufacturing and bring our overseas supply chains back to the U.S. in order to solidify our resiliency to global crises like the coronavirus pandemic. You can read that article here.
Additionally, Joyce has been a fierce advocate for small businesses struggling to keep their doors open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, he voted for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP has provided more than 5 million loans to small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and over 80% of all small business employees. In total, 6,691 businesses in OH-14 have received a PPP loan, helping to save 77,899 jobs across Northeast Ohio. Since the creation of PPP, Joyce has introduced legislation to improve the program, voted to provide it with additional funding and co-sponsored a bill that would allow distressed small businesses to apply for a second loan. Most recently, Joyce signed a discharge petition to bring that common sense legislation to the House floor for a vote, as it would allow small businesses who need additional assistance to access the $138 billion in unspent PPP funds. The petition needs 218 signatures to force a vote on the bill; it currently has 185.