Senators are right; working is crucial to future

Both of Ohio’s senators were in the same city Thursday to discuss similar solutions to two issues.

Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, attended a discussion involving community, charity and law enforcement officials aimed at keeping convicts out of prison.

The roundtable was at a food pantry that offers job training for jobs in the food-service industry.

Portman says such programs can help convicts find work after release from prison. That can lower the recidivism rate, reduce crime and cut prison costs. That’s why he’s working to see Congress reauthorize the Second Chance Act.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, conducted a news conference at a jobs center to discuss legislation aimed at helping military veterans transition to the civilian jobs market.

Both proposals have merit, and pursue parallel goals. But each also would rely on the availability of jobs. Without employment opportunities, efforts to transition veterans into civilian jobs and convicts into society will be futile.

There is a way Congress can help, and it doesn’t involve spending money now in order to (hopefully) save money later. Decision makers in?Washington should work together and act decisively to help businesses know the costs of adding workers over the next five years.

This may not increase employers’ confidence in the economy. But it could raise their level of confidence in predicting the cost of starting or expanding operations.