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    Since 2007, the Ohio Workforce Coalition has been bringing together leaders from education and training institutions, economic and workforce development organizations, business and industry, labor, and human service providers. The Coalition promotes public policies that build the skills of adult workers, meet employer skill needs, and strengthen the workforce system to ensure opportunity and prosperity for Ohio families.

State Works to Match Training, Future Jobs

By Pamela Engel

The Columbus Dispatch
Thursday September 27, 2012 5:56 AM

State officials are assembling a work-force forecast for southwestern Ohio as part of a soon-to-be-statewide program that will help determine where employee shortages are and what skills workers need to land the positions.

Gov. John Kasich wants to link education and training programs to businesses in the state, and this program is a step in that direction. Those involved in the project are distributing a survey to about 25 companies near Cincinnati asking what jobs might be available several years from now and what skills those workers probably will need.

The testing period for the system should be completed this year, said Rich Frederick, the executive director of the governor’s Office of Transformation.

“We want to have it right,” Frederick said. “It needs to be able to work before we can be able to deploy it statewide.”

Cincinnati’s chamber of commerce came up with a list of industry sectors to survey for the program, including manufacturing, health care and information technology, Frederick said.

“Some of them aren’t going to need a four-year or two-year degree,” he said. “It’s going to be a mix of skilled-certificate training and four-year degrees.”

Businesses that require applicants to have degrees can team up with universities to discuss what their curriculum should look like.

“I hope (this program) helps educate students and university guidance officials and curriculum developers in terms of what the skills are and what the job openings are going to be in the future,” said Bruce Johnson, the president of the Inter-University Council of Ohio.

Companies sometimes struggle to find workers with the right set of skills to fit a job, said Richard A. Stoff, the president and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

Stoff said the program will operate as an “information exchange” that will unite job producers and job trainers to line up demand with supply.

“The governor talks with business leaders across the state, and we tell him that we can’t find the talent to meet our needs,” Stoff said. “We have 100,000 unfilled jobs in this state, half of which require a college degree or some form of certificatory training.”

The program also could help recruit high-school students for promising careers, Frederick said. “We can say, ‘Here are the jobs that are available, here’s where they’re going to be years down the road.’ … It takes time to train and educate someone. If we have benchmarks down the road, we can get someone trained in time for a job that is expected to be there.”

Pamela Engel is a fellow in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.

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