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Ongoing labor shortage could impact new business coming to Ohio, DeWine says

welty construction
Posted at 4:34 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 19:22:46-04

FAIRLAWN, Ohio — While the “now hiring” signs are hard to ignore, the ripples from this labor shortage extend beyond the wait time for your food, the tidiness of a store, or the quality of service.

During a recent tour of Cuyahoga Community College’s Manufacturing Technology Center, Governor Mike DeWine shared his concerns over the potential impact of this ongoing labor shortage when it comes to attracting new business to Ohio.

“Our biggest challenge today is finding workers who have the skillsets who can do particular jobs,” he said.

The governor told News 5 that Ohio needs to tackle the labor shortage and do it quicker than other states if it intends to compete and have that bargaining chip available.

“When I talk to companies and they're trying to decide [where to move], the question they always ask is, ‘are the people in your state near where our business is going to be — do we have the workers?” DeWine said. “Do we have people that can be trained or that are people that are already trained? And that really is what it comes down to. So every time that we upscale people's talents and people skills, it makes Ohio a much more competitive state to get new business in here.”

Back in August, the state of Ohio scored a major win by bringing in Peloton’s first dedicated factory in the United States. The project near Toledo is expected to bring more than 2,000 jobs to the area, and $138 million in payroll.

“Jobs are people, they are families, they're the future, they’re part of the American dream,” Lt. Governor Jon Husted said at the time.

As president and CEO of Welty, a company specializing in construction, real estate development, furniture and more, it’s part of Donzell Taylor’s business to make sure companies moving in from out of the area have exactly what they need. Taylor sees firsthand the arms race underway to attract new business to Ohio.

“We want to make it really easy for someone to do business with us, and for them to get what they want out of Northeast Ohio,” Taylor said. “It’s still a very aggressive market out there and Ohio is having to match a lot of really aggressive offers from other states. There's a handful of states and we know most of them: North Carolina, Georgia, Texas. They are incredibly aggressive when it comes to if a business is relocating, what they can and are willing to offer to get them to relocate into their state.”

While Taylor handles as many variables as he can in a deal, he admits the ongoing labor shortage is one factor he cannot control.

“We are scheduling projects right now around how many plumbers I can get,” he added. “It’s a huge issue.”

Taylor told News 5 he hopes the state can help with this labor shortage and keep the momentum going when it comes to new business, something not seen in quite some time.

“For the last decade or so, when we saw a moving truck, we saw the taillights because they were moving somebody to another state,” Taylor said. “Now we’re starting to see those businesses come back. We’re being considered for things we have not for a long time.”

As of October 4, the Ohio Means Jobs website listed more than 243,000 available jobs, more than 133,000 of which pay more than $50,000 a year.