Ohio Industrial Commission

From Ohio History Central

Buckeye Steel Castings Company Interior View.jpg
Employees on the factory floor of the Buckeye Steel

Castings Company, Columbus, Ohio, ca. 1912-1917.

During World War I, the United States Congress established the Council of National Defense to manage the domestic aspects of the nation's war effort. The Ohio Branch of the Council of National Defense provided Governor James M. Cox with advice about how to mobilize the state for war. In particular, the council focused on industry and the need for an adequate supply of labor. One result of the council's efforts was the creation of the Ohio Industrial Commission, which made sure that available workers were placed in the jobs that were most needed for wartime production. The commission's members believed that it was important to include industrial leaders, unions, and others to contribute actively to the planning so that everyone felt invested in the process.

One of the commission's roles was to manage Ohio's workforce during the war. The commission established employment agencies where the unemployed could register for work. This process allowed the commission to shift these workers to other areas of the state where there was a labor shortage. In addition, the commission actively recruited workers from Appalachia during the war. Many of these recruits went to work in the rubber industry in Akron, although thousands also helped to build Camp Sherman near Chillicothe.

See Also


  1. Cayton, Andrew. Ohio: The History of a People. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2002.
  2. Keegan, John. The First World War. New York, NY: A.A. Knopf, 2001.
  3. Keene, Jennifer. The United States and the First World War. New York, NY: Longman, 2000.