Journal Opinion: Brain Gain Excellence Awards

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Ultium Cells. Foxconn. America Makes. The $20 billion Intel manufacturing campus near Columbus that broke ground Sept. 9. Locally based companies like yours. All share the need to train – and retain – a skilled workforce.

Plugging the long-lamented brain drain of talent from the Mahoning and Shenango valleys was the impetus behind the launch of our Brain Gain initiative in October 2019. The editorial program has two prongs: workforce development and building a culture of entrepreneurship.

We made it our business to convince young people and their parents that there are good jobs here – and excellent training programs for skills they require. We visit companies, factories and schools to produce workforce development videos, webinars and stories about required tasks and skill sets for available – and future – jobs.

To expand our reach to young people who are just beginning to think about careers, we also post these videos with Junior Achievement, which makes them available to classrooms across the region.

Aggregating workforce development and entrepreneurship resources is central to our focus as well. At, you will find eight categories of resources. Each links to comprehensive information and contact information about training, job-placement offices, entrepreneurship programs and other resource providers.

Brain Gain recognizes that building a culture of entrepreneurship is equally important to stem the brain drain. Entrepreneurs create jobs and would-be entrepreneurs need how-to and financial assistance. This coverage has a particular focus on business incubators in the region, minority entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship training programs.

This brings us to the inaugural Brain Gain Excellence Awards, which we will present in November. We know that many of our readers are embracing Brain Gain in their workplaces and we want to introduce our readers to unsung heroes who deserve recognition.

We’re seeking nominations – self-nominations will be accepted – to shine the spotlight on people, companies, organizations and nonprofits that are making big differences. We routinely cover the leading workforce development and entrepreneurship advocates. Who are the unsung heroes?

Readers are encouraged to complete a brief online nomination form at in one (or both) of these categories:

 • Workforce Development. To be awarded to a business, community organization or individual that has impacted job creation, training and upskilling, and/or employee recruiting in a unique and positive way.

 • Entrepreneurism. To be awarded to an individual or ownership group that leveraged local resources to kick-start a fresh idea into a promising business.

The deadline for nominations is Sept. 26. We hope to hear from you soon.