MVMC to Receive $930,000 from Federal ‘Good Jobs Challenge’ Program

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition is in line to receive $930,000 over the next three years as part of a $23.4 million award to the Ohio Manufacturers Association.

The grant was awarded through the Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act Good Jobs Challenge program, which was announced earlier today.

MVMC is among the Ohio Manufacturing Association’s network of manufacturing industry sector partnerships throughout the state that will receive funding from this grant to carry out specific recruiting and upskilling components of the Association’s workforce development action plan in the Mahoning Valley.

“This investment will enable us to continue the momentum created through our WorkAdvance program, Ohio To Work, apprenticeship and other upskilling efforts,” said Jessica Borza, MVMC executive director. “It will also allow us to continue our grassroots outreach and build upon partnerships with the Regional Chamber, National Center for Urban Solutions, SOD Center, Ohio Technical Centers, Eastern Gateway Community College and other local entities.”

The Ohio Manufacturers Association is the lead applicant and system lead entity for the grant.  It is among just 32 programs out of 509 applicants throughout the country to receive a portion of $500 million in federal funds aimed at getting Americans back to work by strengthening workforce partnerships that lead to good-paying jobs.

More than 1,600 manufacturers comprise Ohio Manufacturers Association’s statewide network, including 120 that submitted letters of commitment to source new hires from this initiative.

In total, these employers indicated a demand for more than 25,000 hires in the next five years at an annual wage of $17.60/hour. This reflects the prevailing wages for the initiative’s targeted in-demand occupations of machining, production, welding, industrial maintenance, and automation and robotics.

In total, these targeted occupations are projected to have more than 50,000 annual job openings and 150,000 openings over the next 36 months in Ohio.

The initiative prioritizes Ohio’s 32 Appalachian communities, the eight largest urban counties, and underrepresented groups among the manufacturing workforce that include people of color, women, veterans and returning citizens.

In response to regional needs and the needs of the target populations, the industry sector partnerships will execute an Entry-Level Learn-and Earn modeled after MVMC’s WorkAdvance program to prepare a future workforce.

The strategy, which gives employers the opportunity to build a workforce trained to their specific needs, includes recruiting, pre-screening, preparing job skills training, onboarding, and ongoing support and job coaching components.

“Ultimately, the Good Jobs Challenge grant will lay the groundwork for exponential, ongoing impacts beyond the 36-month grant period by operationalizing sustainable new training programs, formalizing referral partnerships, accelerating ISPs’ momentum, and building underrepresented communities’ interest in manufacturing careers,” said Ryan Augsburger, Ohio Manufacturers Association president.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.