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Ohio’s Commitment to Military Families
The Dayton Region’s support of our military families goes to the core of who we are as a community. We want our servicemen and women, their families, and veterans to feel welcome in the Dayton Region and enjoy their time here.
There is a direct connection between these efforts and economic development. The proximity to Wright-Patt is a big part of what makes our region attractive to the defense sector. A company’s ability to easily connect with Air Force leadership and program staff is a key reason these companies choose Dayton. If those programs leave Wright-Patt, we could also lose their contractors.
That means making sure their move to Ohio, or their decision to stay after leaving military service, is as smooth as possible. The DDC advocates for changes that address the important issues military families face when they transition duty stations, making sure military spouses can quickly find work and limiting disruptions in benefits a family may receive.
Retirees make up a strong portion of our workforce, both in the defense industry and other sectors. It’s very common for Air Force retirees and veterans to remain in Dayton and work in the private sector. They bring critical experience and insight, as well as security clearances and other specific skills. We see them as a vital part of our talent pipeline and want to keep them here when they leave the Air Force.
In recent years, Ohio has enacted bills that:
- Require public children services agencies to report child abuse or neglect in military families to the appropriate military authorities.
- Allow local school districts to have students participate in both virtual school enrollments and advance enrollments as they prepare to move to a new military installation and waives the proof of residency requirements until ten days after the student begins attending classes.
- Enter Ohio into interstate occupational licensing compacts in the fields of psychology, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and audiology and speech-language pathology.
- Allow individuals to receive unemployment compensation when they leave their jobs to join a military spouse who is reassigned.
- Provide in-state tuition rates to military families.
- Provide reciprocal occupational licenses for military spouses
- Make it easier for military families with dependents who have special needs to get Medicaid coverage if they previously had it from another state.
Earlier measures include:
- Exempt disability payments of honorably discharged veterans from tax.
- Exempt from Ohio income tax retirement pay received for service on military active duty, as well as pay received by a surviving spouse.
- Exempt workers at Wright-Patt from municipal personal income tax of a city that otherwise would have been required because the worker’s job site is located within the boundaries of that city.
In addition to legislation, Ohio is a national model for participation in the state-sponsored Purple Star Award program for military-friendly schools which recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military.
The newly established Blue Star Families chapter of Dayton, launched in May 2020, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening America's military families through community building by making them feel more welcome.
An example of the Dayton Region's unparalleled community support is the DDC’s Hometown Heroes™ ticket program, which honors the Dayton Region’s servicemen and women affiliated with Wright-Patt and Ohio Air National Guard. The program began in 2003 and has grown with the generosity of local businesses to support thousands of military families in the region. The program distributes complimentary tickets to the Dayton Dragons, performances through Dayton Live (formerly the Victoria Theatre Association), the Dayton Art Institute, and the NCAA Men’s Basketball First Four in partnership with The Big Hoopla. Families can join community leaders for Celebration Nights and enjoy a VIP experience at a game or show. Since the program’s inception, more than 36,000 tickets have been donated through Hometown Heroes™, and more than 69,000 have been donated through The Big Hoopla.
“A commitment to our region’s military families is the heart of the DDC’s Hometown Heroes™ program,” said DDC President and CEO Jeff Hoagland. “We want to thank them for their service while introducing them to some of Dayton’s best experiences.”
- In 2014, Military Times recognized Wright-Patt as tied for first as the top base for Airmen for “…low housing costs, a large commissary, a huge 300-bed medical center, and a large exchange with a mall and a shoppette… and decent commute times — an average one-way trip of 14 minutes, much less than the nationwide average commute of more than 25 minutes…”
- In 2020, OperationMilitaryKids.org rated Wright-Patt as #3 of 59 Air Force Installations stating, “Military residents appreciate the rural and quiet surroundings of east Dayton yet with quick access to metropolises like Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Columbus, and Indianapolis. Dayton also supports its military demographic with plenty of exclusive discounts and promotions for service members and families.”
- In 2016, the Dayton Region was recognized by the Association of Defense Communities as one of the inaugural Great American Defense Communities. The Association of Defense Communities also presented the DDC and the State of Ohio with the 2015 Community Excellence Award.