NE Ohio: Big gap between worker skills and available job opportunities in these key industries

CLEVELAND - "In-Demand Jobs Week" kicks off Monday across Ohio. It is a statewide effort to raise awareness among students and job-seekers. Just like a car may stall out if it doesn't have the right gas, so too can a regional economy if it's not properly fueled by local talent.

Team Northeast Ohio, in partnership with the Cleveland Foundation, published a report Monday called Aligning Opportunities in Northeast Ohio.

The Misalignment: Manufacturing, healthcare, computer and IT
They found a misalignment of job opportunities and workforce in our most in-demand industries that offer family-sustaining wages.

"We're going to need more education," said Jacob Duritsky with Team NEO. "The number of jobs that are going to require some post-secondary education by 2020 is projected to be around 65 percent, and as a region, we're still 10-12 percent, at least, short of where we need to be."

Duritsky says you can obtain the necessary degrees and certificates here to fill jobs in our established and growing industries. The big ones being manufacturing, healthcare, and computer and IT.

From the report:

We have identified 19 professional and technical occupations from these clusters that show substantial demand, many offering family-sustaining wages, and hold promise for future employment and income for Northeast Ohio residents (some combine related key occupations from the previous tables into a single occupation). Almost all require some type of professional and technical training or postsecondary credential.

1. Architects and Engineering Technicians
2. Computer and IT Workers
3. Construction Trade Workers*
4. Education (combines several key occupations)
5. Engineers
6. Financial Clerks
7. Financial Specialists
8. Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners
9. Health Technologists and Technicians
10. Health Therapist Aides and Support Workers (combines several key occupations)
11. Information and Record Clerks
12. Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Workers
13. Life Science Workers (combines several key occupations)
14. Managers, Professional and Health
15. Metal and Plastic Workers
16. Nursing and Home Health Aides
17. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
18. Skilled Production Workers (combines several key occupations)
19. Supervisors of Skilled Workers (combines several key occupations)

He says it'll require a systemic effort to connect people to the right education and training to land these good-paying jobs in Northeast Ohio's significant industries. The report highlights a need to build a better awareness among our local governments, schools, students and families of the current and future career opportunities here.

Demand Supply Alignment 

The full report has been embedded at the bottom of this story.

For example, the study found only 3.3 percent of all certificates and associate degrees awarded here were in computer and information sciences in 2015 — just 2.6 percent for all bachelor's and master's degrees.

However, the study found that by 2021, the computer and IT sector's share of total jobs in NEO will be in the top third.

What about automation?
The report also looks at risk of automation for the dozens of careers it digs into.

It found the risk of automation for computer and IT workers is very low and the projected growth is high.

"We want people to see that manufacturing is alive and well," said Jack Schron, president of Jergens, Inc.

The machining manufacturer is based in Cleveland.

Manufacturing still important
Schron said it's important to introduce the next generation to manufacturing; one of the most important sectors of Northeast Ohio's economy.

He says changing the perception of modern-day manufacturing is so important, as well as making people aware of all the different jobs the co-exist within his company.

"People think it's dirty, grubby," he said. "That couldn't be further from the truth. It's not hot and muggy - we're in an air-conditioned building. And people think it's only for people who don't want to have a sophisticated education - untrue."

The report does a data breakdown for a number of industries and careers. It also looks at where the employee supply outpaces employer demand.

"I think anyone who's thinking about where career paths are and who wants to stay in Northeast Ohio, and wants to see some success here, can benefit from this report," said Duritsky.

Aligning Opportunities in NEO 

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