Moving from poverty to security and opportunity

BAFF Child SupportHow can we work together to increase personal financial security, address poverty and create economic opportunity? OSU Extension – University District, in collaboration with the Ohio CDC Association and Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, has joined the Building Assets for Fathers and Families (BAFF) initiative. Ohio is one of seven states selected to pilot this initiative. Because OSU Extension is an Assets For Independence (AFI) site, we’ve been selected to provide financial education training and counseling to area residents. The BAFF initiative is designed to connect existing asset building services with non-custodial parents, especially fathers, who have been ordered by Franklin County courts to pay child support. Parents who successfully complete the program become eligible for driver license reinstatement or review and adjustment.

According to The Shriver Report:  A Women’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink (2014), 1 of 3 American women with children under the age of 18 live in or on the brink of poverty. Furthermore, 2 out of 3 women consider themselves the primary breadwinner of the family. These statistics demonstrate the essential role of child support payments and programs.

BAFF IDAOSU Extension is able to provide supportive services to Franklin County BAFF participants in collaboration with community, civic, corporate, collegiate and church partners. These programs and services include Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), which can be used towards the purchase of a home, business or higher education. Moreover, they are able to gain access to other valuable programs, services and resources including, but not limited to:  banking, GED, employment, public benefits and much more!

Not only does OSU Extension offer financial literacy training and counseling in the community, but the programming has been extended to Pickaway Correctional Institute inmates who are non-custodial parents and preparing for reintegration into society. Susan Colbert and Lois McCampbell, located in OSU Extension’s University District, are facilitating the program, which consists of four (2-hour) financial literacy workshops offered once a week for four consecutive weeks. The program offers inmates who reside in Franklin County (and have been ordered by the courts to pay child support) an array of skills that can help build a collaborative relationship between the child support agency and fathers with children. This program will provide tools to build personal financial development, credit education, positive child support financial counseling, home buying education, college pursuit directives, driver’s license reinstatement, establish paternity servicing, job preparation and more. The program has been well received by PCI officials and inmates!

(Submitted by Susan Colbert, Program Director, University District)

Helping find employee/employer ‘fit’ via OhioMeansJobs

Whether you are looking for gainful employment and career advancement or you are seeking highly qualified and motivated associates for your business, finding the right fit is key. The new OhioMeansJobs website is designed to assist employers in broadening their choices and gaining access to the large pool of data of potential employees from the State of Ohio.

OSU Extension, in partnership with the Fayette County Economic Development Department, recently held a training session focused on the features of the new OhioMeansJobs website designed to assist them in attracting, hiring, retaining and advancing their workforce needs. The site also enables employers to post jobs, search resumés and take advantage of federal, state and local employment programs. The training was open to all businesses including the county’s eight major employers. Participating companies included:

  • TFO Tech, Inc.OhioMeansJobs Website Employer Training - Post
  • Stage Stores Distribution Center
  • Domtar
  • Sugar Creek Packing
  • Mars Pet Care
  • Wal-Mart Super Stores
  • YUSA Corporation
  • McKesson Drug Company

The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, Fayette County Jobs and Family Services, Southern State Community College and the OhioMeansJobs local office provided support for the training.

(Submitted by Godwin Apaliyah, Extension Educator, Fayette County & Miami Valley EERA)

What you should know about algal blooms

You may have seen Toledo in the news the past few days as it worked to provide safe tap water for as many as 400,000 people. Fortunately, on Monday the two-day ban was lifted when it was determined the water met Ohio EPA standards. The ban was due to increased levels of the toxin microcystin, produced by blue-green algal blooms which occur in warm waters found in freshwater lakes, ponds and also in marine waters around the world. As the algae die, the toxin is released into the water. For this reason boiling does not make the HAB water safe to drink.

HABs 2014-08-07

Photo credit: (8/06/2014)

Wind conditions on Saturday (August 2) kept the bloom concentrated near the mouth of the Maumee River and apparently large amounts of the bloom were taken in at the Toledo water intake. When wind conditions changed, the bloom appeared to move away from the mouth of the Maumee River and out into the western basin of Lake Erie. The bloom is not large and remains within forecast parameters, but it is obviously very toxic and in a very bad location. Unfortunately, it is likely to persist well into October, when cooler weather arrives, and will not reach its peak until September.

Ohio Sea Grant and the Ohio Sea Grant Extension Program professionals have been working to address the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) issue for years. Factors favorable to HAB formation include highly fertile water, sunny weather, warm temperatures, and selective grazing by zooplankton and or zebra/quagga mussels. Selective grazing removes the “good” algae and leaves the cyanobacteria that make up the HAB.

These short (1-4 page) fact sheets provide more information:

Harmful Algal Blooms in Ohio Waters

10 Things I Should Know About Algal Blooms

For more information on the Ohio Sea Grant Program and the Ohio Sea Grant Extension Program professionals, go here.

(Submitted by Frank Lichtkoppler, Professor & Extension Specialist, Ohio Sea Grant Program)