MVMC Caps Off Successful 2023 by Highlighting Accomplishments

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition closed on a successful 2023, as many of its programs witnessed significant gains in impact across the region.

The organization highlighted these accomplishments during its annual meeting, held at DoubleBogey’s in Boardman on Thursday.

“It was a great year with lots of activity on all fronts,” said Jessica Borza, MVMC executive director. 

Among the initiatives that gained traction during the year was the increase in youth outreach, Borza said. Last year, the organization connected with 7,413 young people through school programs, job fairs and other venues.

“We nearly tripled the number of young people that we reached year-over-year,” Borza said. Hands-on activities increased by four times compared with the previous year, while plant tours for students doubled in 2023, she added.

Part of the curriculum this year was a seven-part career exploration program for middle school students that centered on careers in manufacturing. The program was used in multiple school districts in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

MVMC’s annual meeting was held at DoubleBogey’s in Boardman on Thursday.

Equally important was the coalition’s impact on new job placements because of the WorkAdvance program, Borza noted.

“These are individuals who are not working, or in low income and low growth potential jobs, and we’re providing them with short-term training and getting them connected with manufacturers,” Borza said. “We have a growing number of manufacturers who are seeing this as a great source of untapped talent.”

Alex Hertzer, MVMC’s senior project manager, reported job placements through the program soared 56% compared with last year. That program helps potential employees who do not have traditional experience in manufacturing attain the skills needed to enter into the industrial workforce.

Hertzer said the program also focused on underrepresented communities, such as a cohort in July that encouraged women to join the manufacturing workforce, he said.

“We’ve also started our first Warren boot camp,” he said. Earlier this year, MVMC announced it would expand the WorkAdvance program to Trumbull County, partnering with the Trumbull Community Action Program, Oak Hill, Warren Forward, Aspire Trumbull County and Eastern Gateway Community College.

MVMC also secured substantial funding through grant programs in 2023 that helped fund apprenticeship and outreach programs, Borza added.

This year, the coalition landed $1.9 million in grant funding, she said. “That takes us to almost $27 million since our inception in 2011,” Borza said, when adding MVMC membership dues.

“For every dollar you’ve invested from your membership dues, we’ve attracted another $41 into the community to support this mission and this work,” Borza told guests.

Looking ahead, Borza said MVMC will continue to reexamine its education and training programs to ensure that they align with the needs of manufacturers, such as those in the electric vehicle space.

“We continue to see a strong outlook for manufacturing in 2024,” she said. “Workforce will continue to be in demand, which makes our mission really important.”

MVMC also attracted 21 new members in 2023. To date, the coalition boasts 72 manufacturers as members and an additional 54 associate members that engage in education, workforce development and economic development.

Pictured at top: Jessica Borza, MVMC executive director.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.