By Ryan Augsburger
President, The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Across the nation, Manufacturing Day is Friday Oct. 6. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has designated October as Manufacturing Month. From Cleveland to Cincinnati, from Marietta to Montpelier, our state’s No. 1 industry is preparing to inspire the next generation to make their careers in manufacturing.
Ohio today finds its storied manufacturing sector more relevant than ever. We are the nation’s third-largest manufacturing state in terms of jobs and payroll, and Ohio manufacturers just set another record of $134 billion in annual economic output. As reshoring and foreign direct investment continue, so will these trends.
The only obstacle threatening our manufacturing growth is a lack of available talent.
Despite weekly announcements of new manufacturing jobs and investments, too many Ohioans remain unaware of the opportunities that are available. Modern manufacturing jobs are high-tech, safe, well-paying, intellectually engaging, and – most importantly – essential to our quality of life. The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA) is continuing its effort to spread the word about manufacturing’s multitude of career options. The OMA is laser-focused on creating a sufficient workforce pipeline through a multi-faceted plan that includes the following:
· Industry Sector Partnerships: The OMA has shepherded the development of a statewide network of industry sector partnerships. Led by manufacturers at the local level, these partnerships are why the OMA and State of Ohio in 2022 were awarded the “Good Jobs Challenge” grant by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Industry sector partners are working to enroll 6,000 Ohioans – including people of color, women, veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals – in training programs that will prepare them for great careers with local manufacturers.
· Workforce Credentials: Thanks largely to the leadership of Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Ohio has become a national leader in modernizing manufacturing workforce development. The most obvious example of this transformation is the use of TechCred – an innovative training program that helps workers earn industry-recognized, technology-focused credentials. Since TechCred’s launch in 2019, Ohioans have earned tens of thousands of tech-focused credentials, providing Ohio manufacturers with yet another competitive advantage.
· Investing in Future Manufacturers: In Ohio’s current two-year budget, lawmakers included several investments to help grow the manufacturing talent pool. Included was $100 million for Ohio’s career-tech centers to purchase modern equipment for student training; $200 million to support construction or expansion of career-tech facilities; and $32 million to fund industry-recognized credentials for high school students.
· Hands-On Training for Teens: To help build the skills of the next generation, the OMA has helped champion Ohio’s Manufacturing Mentorship Program, which enables 16- and 17-year-olds to work part-time in a manufacturing facility under the guidance of a mentor. Manufacturers can also take advantage of Ohio’s high school internship program, which reimburses 50% of an intern’s wages.
As Gov. DeWine has often said, Ohio’s moment is now. Across the state, communities are counting on the continued success of manufacturers to grow local economies and opportunities for Ohio’s current and future workforce. During Manufacturing Month, the OMA encourages young Ohioans – and adults who influence them – to explore careers with local manufacturers. For more information, visit MakingOhio.com, which spotlights manufacturing careers and training resources to help propel the next wave of Ohio’s manufacturing talent.
Ryan Augsburger is president of The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, which represents approximately 1,300 manufacturers statewide. Established in 1910, the OMA’s mission is to protect and grow Ohio manufacturing. Learn more at ohiomfg.com.