Efforts in Ohio toward increased employee stability for pay, training, opportunity and accessibility are gaining momentum, thanks to a federal grant.
The state and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association have been awarded a three-year, $23.49 million federal grant through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s $500 million Good Jobs Challenge Program.
The initiative aims to invest in high-quality, locally led workforce systems to expand career opportunities and secure well-paid jobs.
Awardees for the Good Jobs Challenge Program – there were 32 grants nationwide – were announced Aug. 3.
Ohio’s program highlights more than $100 million in leveraged funds from JobsOhio, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the Ohio Department of Development and more.
“By providing Ohioans with opportunities to upskill or be trained in cutting-edge careers, we will grow Ohio’s workforce, especially in the manufacturing, broadband, and electric vehicle sectors,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “We want to continue to help provide Ohio employers with qualified workers in order to grow their businesses, and this grant will help us do just that.”
The federal funding will go toward a three-year workforce development action plan focused on recruiting and upskilling workers in Ohio’s manufacturing, broadband and electric vehicle sectors.
“While the Good Jobs Challenge grant will mainly focus on upskilling Ohioans for jobs in the manufacturing industry, strengthening this sector will only help strengthen Ohio’s economy and the rest of our workforce as a whole,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who serves as director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.
Filling job openings
Over the past few years, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association has helped establish a statewide network of industry sector partnerships. With the resources from the federal grant, each partnership will receive up to $930,000.
“The level of collaboration and commitment from state partners is unprecedented for a funding request of this magnitude,” said OMA President Ryan Augsburger. “Ohio is the third largest manufacturing state in terms of jobs, and it is a national leader in emerging technologies. Manufacturers statewide have an extreme demand for skilled workers, which is what we intend to address with this … investment.”
Ohio’s partnership network includes 1,654 manufacturers, 120 of which have committed to sourcing new hires for the initiative. In total, employers have indicated demand for more than 25,000 hires over the next five years at an annual wage of $17.60 an hour or more.
In addition to the skilled manufacturing position focus, the federal grant includes funding to support Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership, which will focus on costs relative to starting and scaling broadband and 5G education and training programs across the state.
Broadband and 5G are anticipated to create more than 107,000 jobs in Ohio this decade.
This initiative prioritizes Ohio’s 32 Appalachian communities, the eight largest urban counties and under-represented groups among the manufacturing workforce, including people of color, women and veterans.
“We project 1,000 Ohio employers to engage in hiring, retaining, or advancing a participant served by this initiative,” Augsburger said. “Our goal is to enroll 6,000 participants across the state in one or more training programs that lead to a job offer or upskilling opportunity at their incumbent employer. Added emphasis will be on reaching job seekers from under-represented communities.”
In response to regional and target population needs, the partnerships will use an evidence-based model to prepare a future workforce.
The strategy gives employers an opportunity to build a workforce trained to specific needs. It includes recruiting, pre-screening, preparing job-skills training, onboarding and ongoing support and job-coaching components.
Another section of the initiative will involve bringing together key industry leaders to identify hiring and skill needs in the electric vehicle manufacturing industry and related supply chain.