Report Finds Big Gaps in Northeast Ohio Employer Needs, Employee Skills

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click to enlarge CSU's Health Sciences Building - Cleveland State University
Cleveland State University
CSU's Health Sciences Building
This week is "In-Demands Job Week," evidently. It's a statewide effort spearheaded and promoted by Ohio Means Jobs to help close the skills gap and publicize jobs where there is currently far greater demand than supply.

To highlight those jobs locally, Team NEO — of Amazon HQ2 fame — published a report Monday highlighting areas of greatest regional misalignment, industries where there are far more available jobs than there are credentialed employees to work them.

The report, "Aligning Opportunities," is included in full below. Composed by Team NEO's Jacob Duritsky and funded jointly by the Cleveland Foundation and Sherwin-Williams, was undertaken with the goal of accelerating workforce policy in the region, policy that it said should "provide skilled talent critical to growing key wealth-generating sectors in the economy and, at the same time, provide opportunities for good careers and incomes for the residents in Northeast Ohio."

The report identified healthcare, manufacturing and IT as the three most significant areas of misalignment.

Many of the jobs in all three fields — from registered nurses to tool and die makers to computer systems analysts — provide family sustaining wages. Most in the healthcare and IT industries face low risk of automation (unlike the majority of the manufacturing jobs.) Some require college degrees but a good deal require only an Associates degree or a professional certificate.

One sharp local objected to the inclusion of manufacturing alongside healthcare and IT, on the grounds that 26 of the 34 manufacturing job categories faced a medium or high risk of automation by 2021, and 22 did not provide a family-sustaining wage (defined as $23.19 per hour for a family four in Cuyahoga County).
The biggest misalignment of all was found to be "Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners" — nurses and nurse practitioners.

The report suggested that greater awareness of "quality career education" was necessary among residents, and that employers needed assistance (presumably from government or academic institutions) tracking down qualified employees. As it is, 43 percent of employees in the 18-county region travel across county lines for work.

The report stressed that educational institutions must produce more students with credentials in high-demand sectors and that, in order to do so, "deeper employer engagement ... is critical to improving the quality and relevancy of educational programs."

While the report focused exclusively on academic pathways and acknowledged that there are many other career pathways, particularly in the construction and labor trades, it also said that by 2021, 65 percent of regional jobs will require a post-secondary credential of some kind.

Local events by Ohio Means Jobs for "In Demand Jobs Week" include a presentation on apprenticeships at 10:30 a.m. at Tri-C East (4400 Richmond Road, Warrensville Heights), and a daylong training in IT fundamentals by Google on Friday ( 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.), at Tri-C's Hospitality Management Center at Public Square. Registration is required for the "Grow with Google" event.

About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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