OhioMeansJobs Tackles Region’s Skills Gap

By Gloria T. Mathews, communications assistant, OhioMeansJobs
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — With low unemployment and many businesses in need of skilled workers in 2019, the OhioMeansJobs centers in Mahoning and Columbiana counties focused on expanding workforce participation and providing occupational training.

To address the skills gap, training enrollment increased 26% in 2019 over the previous year. That enrollment saw a larger percentage of participants in short-term (less than 12 months) and on-the-job training than in the previous time period, which resulted in a faster path to job placement.

Enrollees participated in training programs for licensed practical nursing, truck driving, welding, HVAC, auto mechanics and diesel technology. On-the-job training provides partial reimbursement to employers of a new hire’s wages during training.

To qualify for training funds, an individual must be a dislocated worker – jobless through no fault of his own – or meet income guidelines. After assessment, the applicant must be determined unlikely to obtain employment. Training may be provided for in-demand occupations as determined by the state and must be provided by an approved school.

The OhioMeansJobs centers also participated in retention efforts to keep employed individuals in their jobs. Introduced in 2019 was a program funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, – the Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/illness Network – that seeks to help employees who are injured off the job get back to work faster.

This program, operated in partnership with Mercy Health, helps employers develop stay-at-work/return-to-work strategies while providing health service coordination for the injured worker. Workers hurt off the job, such as breaking a wrist in a fall while shoveling snow, can receive managed recovery services similar to those provided by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

The OhioMeansJobs centers serve the basic employment needs of the two counties. During the last six months of 2019, business services representatives assisted 96 employers post job orders, 1,971 individuals made their first visit to an OMJ center, 3,885 individuals came through the centers’ doors, total visits exceeded 10,500, 26 recruiting events were held at the centers and employment-related workshops had attendance of 2,931.

All services are offered at no cost.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.