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BWC sending 23 million Ohio-made masks to employers

Dec. 23, 2020

2nd round of masks aimed at fighting COVID-19 spread

COLUMBUS – Working with Ohio companies and nonprofits, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) is distributing 23 million face masks to Ohio’s employers and workforce to weaken the spread of COVID-19.

The second round of BWC’s Protecting Ohio’s Workforce – We’ve Got You Covered initiative began in late November and is expected to continue through June 2021. It follows nearly 23 million masks that BWC shipped from May through October.

“As Governor Mike DeWine reminds us, we all have a role in fighting this pandemic and protecting our fellow Ohioans,” said BWC Interim Administrator/CEO John Logue. “As a state agency focused on workplace safety, this is a natural extension of our mission and we’re happy to do our part.”

In October, BWC contracted with startup Buckeye Mask Company in Cleveland for 10 million masks and with Career Development and Placement Strategies in Cleveland for 13 million masks.

“We’re employing 22 people, using automated equipment to make as many as 40,000 masks per day, which we hope to increase to 54,000 per day in January,” said Buckeye Mask President Carla Macklin. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of JobsOhio, the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, and many others to get us the equipment, funding, and technical assistance we needed to start production.”

Buckeye Mask is partnering with Stitches USA in Holmes County to produce the masks. Details on the collaboration and all parties involved can be found in this JobsOhio media release.

For Career Development and Placement Strategies, a nonprofit focused on workforce development in struggling communities, the BWC contract means 180 temporary jobs for people in the greater Cleveland area over the next six months, said Maurice Stevens, the nonprofit’s president.

“Some of these jobs will turn into full-time jobs,” said Stevens, who is working with subcontractors to produce the masks. “The contract also helps us extend our reach and programming – such as our carpentry training schools in Akron and Cleveland – at a time when our services are needed more than ever.”

Employers will not be billed for the masks.

Funded by employer premiums, BWC provides workers’ compensation insurance to approximately 245,000 private employers and 4,000 public employers (cities, counties, schools, etc.) across Ohio.

About COVID-19

For more information about COVID-19 as it relates to BWC, visit this Frequently Asked Questions page or email BWCCOVID19@bwc.state.oh.us.

For the latest on COVID-19 as it relates to Ohio, visit the Ohio Department of Health website coronavirus.ohio.gov, or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

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Media Contacts:
Tony Gottschlich, 614-644-4940 or 614-296-1734, tony.gottschlich@bwc.state.oh.us

Kim Norris, 614-728-8045 or 614-361-0202, kimberly.norris@bwc.state.oh.us

Established in 1912, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is the exclusive provider of workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio and serves 249,000 public and private employers. With nearly 1,800 employees and assets of approximately $28 billion, BWC is one of the largest state-run insurance systems in the United States. Our mission is to deliver consistently excellent experiences for each BWC customer every day. For more, visit www.bwc.ohio.gov.