By GLORIA T. MATHEWS
Communications Assistant, Mahoning & Columbiana Training Association
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – In 2021, OhioMeansJobs Mahoning and Columbiana Counties and the Mahoning & Columbiana Training Association (MCTA) transitioned back to providing in-person services. Starting in March, in-person services were provided by appointment only. Then in June, the OhioMeansJobs centers opened to the public with health restrictions in place.
Since the reopening, 1,540 customers visited the OhioMeansJobs centers in Mahoning and Columbiana counties. There they accessed a variety of employment services that include workshops, job search and training funds through MCTA.
The pandemic did not stifle interest in job training. In the last six months of 2021, 199 individuals were enrolled in a classroom training program – many available virtually – through MCTA. Of those, 158 were in short-term training (less than 12 months) programs such as licensed practical nurse, truck driving, welding and HVAC. There were 41 in long-term training, which can include the last two years of a four-year baccalaureate.
A requirement for training is that it must be in a field that is “in-demand” and there must be a reasonable expectation of a job when training is completed. Also, there must be a reasonable expectation of the customer successfully completing the training and acquiring employment in the field.
As business ramped back up in 2021, many employers faced the challenge of finding skilled workers. During the year, business services representatives at the local OhioMeansJobs offices helped 156 local employers post 338 staff-assisted job orders.
They also helped employers take advantage of the very popular On-the-Job Training program. In 2021, 86 newly hired employees participated in the OJT program that resulted in more than $375,000 in payments to their employers to offset wages during the training periods.
As the year wound down, the state launched the Ohio To Work initiative to help employers fill job positions and individuals improve their quality of life. Focused on manufacturing, health care and information technology, Ohio To Work offers career coaching, job training and access to tools and resources to help individuals find better jobs.
The program promotes the services offered at OhioMeansJobs offices and offers personal career coaching, access to accelerated training options and access to tools that match interests and skills. The initiative runs through December.
MCTA also provides services to youth with barriers to employment. Individuals under the age of 25 are particularly impacted during periods of economic downturn. Young people 14 to 24 years of age who lack a high school diploma, are parenting, are in or were in foster care, lack job skills or have other challenges. But they can receive assistance that will lead to a brighter future.
Services are available to youths in or our of school. These include tutoring, job shadowing, housing or dependency referrals, connection to community resources and more. To access youth services, in Mahoning County call 330 747 5639 ext. 6130 and in Columbiana County call 330 424 7722 ext. 8209. To access job seeker, employer services or training programs, contact an OhioMeansJobs center. OhioMeansJobs Mahoning County: 330 965 1787. OhioMeansJobs Columbiana County: 330 420 9675.