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How One State Works to Match Talent with Industry Need

In 2011, Ohio Gov. John Kasich came into office after a massive national recession, and Ohio needed a strong jobs boost.

trainingCompetition with other states that were more business friendly at the time remained fierce, and he knew the old approach of business attraction, retention and expansion needed to be completely transformed. So he launched a new privately funded economic development organization, JobsOhio, with the goal of making the Buckeye state a big draw for companies of all sizes. Since the program gained traction in 2013, job growth has been steady and significant, with last year setting a record for new jobs created (23,602) and capital invested ($6.7 billion).

Employers looking to relocate to Ohio or to expand within the state faced a growing challenge that was being encountered throughout the country: finding the right talent for the new jobs created. Industries such as advanced manufacturing, the leading job-creation sector for JobsOhio projects, are particularly hard-pressed to find workers with the relevant skills and competency. And with Ohio’s diversified industry base, companies in sectors such as biohealth and information technology also made talent development a top priority.

“This is what they’re telling us they need, so it’s really about customer service.”

To help address that, JobsOhio has launched a new Talent Acquisition program to help companies find the skilled workers they need. Services include marketing for talent, sourcing and pre-screening, and job training. “It’s a natural complement to the services we already offer our clients,” says John Minor, JobsOhio president and chief investment officer. “This is what they’re telling us they need, so it’s really about customer service.”

He notes that JobsOhio is in a unique position to leverage the state’s education and workforce resources, including many community colleges and training and vocational schools, to develop a deep pool of qualified candidates and a customized hiring solution tailored to each client’s needs. “We have outstanding resources in our state,” says Minor. “It’s really about how we bring all those resources together and deliver them to the client—that’s our competitive advantage.”

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About C.J. Prince