Personal View: Helping Ohioans find sustainable new careers – Crain’s Cleveland Business

Posted: December 7, 2020 at 4:56 am

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Since its September launch, more than 1,700 Ohioans have received career coaching from an Ohio To Work service provider partner, including the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, Goodwill of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio, and Ohio Means Jobs. So far, 46 employers have committed to support Ohio To Work, with more expressing interest. Collectively, these companies would like to hire more than 2,000 workers in the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County area. We have also partnered with six training providers who know how to prepare candidates for the types of jobs that are now in demand. And funding is being made available to help candidates as they go through the reskilling process. JobsOhio's industry sector partners MAGNET, Team NEO, Cuyahoga Community College and the Greater Cleveland Partnership continue to provide critical support across the Ohio To Work pilot initiative, including when we held a virtual career fair in October that touched more than 700 job seekers and connected them with coaches and employers. More career fairs are planned, and the next one, focused on diversity and inclusion, is set for Thursday, Dec. 10. Interested job seekers can visit for details.

There are real people behind those numbers. One career coach from our Goodwill partner told us about a job seeker who interviewed for a position in manufacturing, which was not her background, and happily discovered that the employer would be willing to train her. Another coach at Ohio Means Jobs shared a story about a client who had only ever thought about truck driving as an option, and now, thanks to discovering potential new career paths through an Ohio To Work artificial intelligence tool, they were going to a career fair to explore a wider range of job possibilities. And at the Urban League, a coach was helping someone with a bachelor's degree in nonprofit management who had been working in childcare, but now realized they had an aptitude for accounting and could look into a job in banking among other areas.

Central to the entire effort is our long-standing commitment to advance equity. One of the reasons we selected Greater Cleveland for the pilot initiative is that minority job seekers and minority-owned businesses there have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Our partners have deep experience serving minority communities. The planned diversity- and inclusion-focused career fair on Dec. 10 is a key element of Ohio To Work. And among other things, we are emphasizing expanded access to reskilling, including partnering with programs such as We Can Code IT, which is dedicated to promoting tech in minority communities.

By better connecting our Ohio To Work partners, we are in effect supercharging the existing workforce ecosystem. Through this collaboration, we have hosted virtual sessions to introduce employers and career coaches, allowing them to share insights with each other, as well as provide coaches a more direct line to employers. We are able to deliver the latest business intelligence, about employer needs and in-demand training programs, to our service provider partners and coaches. Ohio To Work is also leading by delivering cutting-edge solutions and data for job seekers, piloting the latest in workforce tech artificial intelligence tools to help job seekers discover new career paths. And we are doing our best to ensure those paths involve in-demand skills to make careers as future-proof as possible.

No matter where you might be in your career journey whether you're ready to find your next opportunity or just starting to consider your options the Ohio To Work partners want you to know there are resources to support you. A lot of it can be done remotely, like building digital skills, or enrolling in a fully virtual bootcamp to become a software developer. We hope you will visit to explore ways you can immediately start investing in your future.

The Ohio To Work pilot is still running, and the idea is for all of this to be just the beginning. We are learning what works and what needs to be improved, with a plan to expand the Ohio To Work initiative to other areas of the state. JobsOhio is proud that we can pivot quickly, and in this case, innovate at the speed of crisis. We could not accomplish it without the support of our partners. Why are all of us doing it? Because we can. It's what Ohioans deserve.

Nauseef is president and CEO of JobsOhio, the state's private nonprofit economic development corporation.

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Personal View: Helping Ohioans find sustainable new careers - Crain's Cleveland Business

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December 7th, 2020 at 4:56 am