Ohioan to head efforts to restore U.S. auto industry

Innovation Ohio would like to extend our best wishes to Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams as he prepares to mark his last day in office on Monday before taking on an exciting and critical new role. Williams has been selected to become the new executive director of the Department of Labor’s Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, otherwise known as the “auto czar.”

Williams’ appointment, announced earlier this month, was applauded by Senator Sherrod Brown, who called it “a loss for Youngstown, but a win for the auto sector and the nearly 800,000 Ohio workers whose jobs are tied to this critical industry.” Brown has been a key advocate for federal intervention in the industry.

Since 2009, thanks to intervention by President Obama, both GM and Chrysler have emerged from bankruptcy, recaptured market share, returned to profitability and have even begun to expand. GM recently announced a $204M investment in its Toledo facility in the production of its new 8-speed fuel-efficient transmission. Meanwhile, Chrysler has repaid its outstanding loans to the U.S. Treasury, six years early. And at Lordstown, where prior to the rescue effort, 1,000 jobs were at risk, has now added a third shift and employs nearly 5,000 workers.

In all, it is estimated that 164,654 jobs in Ohio would have been lost if it were not for the auto rescue. We applaud Mayor Williams on his commitment to support the preservation and economic health of Ohio communities and workers dependent on the American automotive industry.