CLEVELAND — The fifth annual Aligning Opportunities report was released Thursday. It tracks how well Northeast Ohio is training people for the best paying, most in-demand jobs in our region's top three industries of manufacturing, health care and IT.
"The good part of the story is that five years in we are seeing the community getting more educated," said Jacob Duritsky, vice president of strategy and research at Team NEO.
Team NEO compiles the report sponsored by Delta Dental. It shows overall educational attainment has gone from 33% to 37% in Northeast Ohio.
Duritsky said it is estimated within four years, 65% of jobs in Ohio will require some post-secondary credential.
More work is needed to close the gap. However, the first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it exists and Duritsky says that's been a measurable win.
"It is night and day versus where it was from an awareness perspective five years ago," he said, "People rally around it. People understand what the data is telling us. People are now developing strategies to address it."
One successful strategy includes growing partnerships between the private sector and higher education to fill training gaps.
Like Lorain County Community College and Cleveland Cybersecurity firm, Fortress SRM, teaming up to offer affordable Earn and Learn degrees.
But struggles remain when it comes to equal minority and gender representation in the most in-demand areas of our economy.
For example, data shows just 6% of businesses in Northeast Ohio are minority-owned, and women earn less than men despite equal education.
Duritsky said some of the solutions include improved wrap-around services for adult learners, increased career awareness among young students like the PACE program just launching in Cleveland schools, and targeted financial support for minority and female-owned businesses.
"Without the right talent, without aligned talent, and without an inclusive economy that has everyone in Northeast Ohio participating in meaningful ways, we're not going to be able to grow our way out of this problem," said Duritsky.
Duritsky also said it's important for companies right now to focus worker retention; going beyond pay to things like flexible schedules, remote work, paid leave and company culture.
The report also includes the top 20 jobs in Northeast Ohio based on low-risk of automation and a family-sustaining wage. Click here to find the list of jobs.
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