(The Center Square) – Ohio’s manufacturing industry projects a need for 25,000 hires over the next five years, and the Ohio Manufacture’s Association plans to use a multi-million-dollar federal grant to educate, train and create industry partnerships to help meet that need.
The OMA partnered with the several state agencies to apply for the $23.5 million grant, which was one of only 32 awarded nationwide.
“The level of collaboration and commitment from state partners is unprecedented for a funding request of this magnitude,” OMA President Ryan Augsburger said. “Ohio is the third largest manufacturing state in terms of jobs, and it is a national leader in emerging technologies. Manufacturers statewide have an extreme demand for skilled workers, which is what we intend to address with this EDA investment.”
Recently, OMA helped develop a statewide network of manufacturing sector partnerships that includes 1,654 manufacturers, and each partnership will receive $93,000 from the grant, according to OMA.
From those partnerships, 120 businesses have committed to source new hires from the grant’s planned program.
OMA also said those businesses have said they have a demand for 25,000 hires over the next five years at an annual wage of $17.60 per hour. In total, the targeted occupations are projected to have 50,000-plus annual openings over the next three years.
The grant also includes a focus on skilled manufacturing positions, and the funding includes money for Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership at Ohio State University, led by the Wireless Infrastructure Association.
The planned initiative prioritizes the state’s 32 Appalachian communities, the eight largest urban counties and people of color, women, veterans and returning citizens in the manufacturing workforce.
“We project 1,000 Ohio employers to engage in hiring, retaining, or advancing a participant served by this initiative,” Augsburger said. “Our goal is to enroll 6,000 participants across the state in one or more training programs that lead to a job offer or upskilling opportunity at their incumbent employer. Added emphasis will be on reaching job seekers from under-represented communities.”