YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Highlighting 2022 for Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition was its prominent role in a statewide initiative that ultimately landed a $23.4 million federal grant for the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association.
The funds, a large portion of which were split among the state’s growing network of industry sector partnerships, are earmarked for expanding a recruiting and training initiative piloted in large part in the Mahoning Valley. The program, WorkAdvance, opens doors to manufacturing careers among diverse and underrepresented populations around the state.
“We were in a position to help shape both the statewide initiative and the grant application because of our experience and success with it locally,” says Jessica Borza, MVMC executive director. “It’s a testament to our members, stakeholders and staff that our colleagues at OMA and industry sector partners look to us as being so progressive and established.”
MVMC and community partners like National Center for Urban Solutions, Eastern Gateway Community College, United Returning Citizens, Salem Area Sustainable Opportunity Development Center and local OhioMeansJobs agencies helped shepherd 85 individuals through WorkAdvance in 2022, each of whom was placed in career-growth jobs with 10 participating local manufacturers upon completion.
The statewide WorkAdvance initiative, funded through the Economic Development Administration’s Good Jobs Challenge grant, seeks to recruit, place or upskill 6,000 individuals over three years.
MVMC will use a portion of its fund allotment to add to Kelly Bancroft as WorkAdvance program manager. The coalition employs seven.
Other accomplishments and initiatives include:
- The conclusion of Ohio To Work Mahoning Valley, a JobsOhio-funded initiative that MVMC served as program lead, which ended its 18-month run in December by surpassing each of its three primary targets, including jobseekers served, those enlisted in training programs and job offers made.
- The re-formation of a diversity, equity and inclusion committee composed of member organizations to establish performance metrics, tangible actions, professional development opportunities and connect members to new talent pools.
- Participation in 15 community events. More than 1,500 area students were reached throughout the year. Further, a series of 30 short-form videos were produced highlighting manufacturing career paths and will be distributed to classrooms in 2023.
- Expansion of MVMC-sponsored training programs specific to robotics operation, train-the-trainer, leadership training, Lean Six Sigma, industrial maintenance and group-sponsored apprenticeships.
- Membership growth to comprise more than 61 manufacturers and 47 affiliate organizations, representing a 30% year-over-year increase.
“We’re busier than ever with our growing membership and leadership of core initiatives in recruiting, training and diversifying our local workforce. It’s exhilarating work that we’re honored to do on behalf of our members and stakeholders every day,” says Borza.
Pictured at top: Lt. Gov. Jon Husted toured Hynes Industries in April 2022. Sharing a laugh with him is Rick Organ, Hynes president and CEO.