For at least the past couple of decades, job growth has been concentrated farther away from the heart of Cleveland, especially industrial growth.
As a result, there are a number of agencies, nonprofits and municipalities working together fix job deserts in Northeast Ohio.
"It's a disconnect between where people live and where there are opportunities for work," said Jacob Duritsky with Team Northeast Ohio.
The agency promotes and helps grow business across our 18-county region.
They have identified job clusters, especially when it comes to manufacturing.
“They're in Solon,” he said. “They're in Medina. They're in Strongsville."
They have also identified a lot of potential workers in the inner-ring suburbs who don't have cars and face an hour-plus bus ride to get there.
Team NEO is one of the agencies working on solutions.
“How do we engage transportation in a meaningful way that provides solutions," said Duritsky.
"Can we develop properties in areas hard hit that maybe need some more mediation that maybe don't have the amenities of modern, industrialized space, and build the infrastructure around where folks live today. Is that a possibility?"
Duritsky points to Dealer Tire headquartered on Euclid, and IBM Explorys when it moves to the Opportunity Corridor in University Circle, as two success stories.
As well as the two Amazon fulfillment centers bringing 3,000 jobs to Euclid and North Randall.
However, more is needed he said, and access isn't the only potential roadblock to growing our region's economy and making it more inclusive and equitable.
“In three vital sectors of the NEO economy: Manufacturing, healthcare and IT, there's a significant mismatch or misalignment between what employers are looking for and the types of credentials we're getting,” he explained. “So, it's not just getting yourself into the system, it's understanding where real opportunity exists too."
The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network is taking action to improve access and train people. They've started an apprenticeship program for Cleveland high schoolers.
The first class graduates next year — ready to work.
Manufacturing employs one in five workers here and there are thousands of open jobs.