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Northeast Ohio struggling to find, keep credentialed workers

Posted at 8:46 AM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 08:46:02-04

CLEVELAND — There is a new report out that dives into the need for skilled workers to fill the most in-demand jobs in Northeast Ohio, and it shows, it'll be an uphill battle to rebound.

The report, prepared by Team NEO in partnership with Delta Dental, shows that by 2025, 65% of our workforce will need to have a 2 to 4-year degree or credential to keep up with the demand.

However, right now we're only at 34%, and the pandemic has only made the need for credentialed workers more dire.

Graduation and retention are a big part of the problem. The report shows that Northeast Ohio produces 20% fewer graduates than the national average, and we are only able to keep less than 47% of them in the region.

The report lists Northeast Ohio's top 20 jobs; jobs they say offer family-sustaining wages and low risk of automation.

These jobs include software application developers, web developers, information security analysts, financial managers, occupational therapists, and HR managers.

Jacob Duritsky, with Team NEO, says companies are starting to be more flexible with how they think about talent and training.

"Partners like Highland Software and MCPc, in many cases, have gotten rid of some bachelor's degree requirements and they're looking for skills," said Duritsky. "We've seen things like coding bootcamps come about and programs like what IBM and YSU, Youngstown State, are doing around digital apprenticeships for the IT area, which are cost-free and just offer access to tremendously more people."

Duritsky says there are solutions to closing the skills gap but is has to be a multi-pronged approach.

"If we can slowly keep more students here, and slowly start thinking about long-term talent attraction and bringing people back into the region, and if we can really start taking this equity issue seriously and connecting people here to opportunities—that's how I think over time we'll see the gap and put ourselves in a better position," said Duritsky.

The report is related to an earlier report that came out this summer called “Misaligned Opportunities: How Racial Inequities Lead to Skills Gaps." It found that in 19 of the top 20 jobs in Northeast Ohio, minorities were underrepresented relative to the percent of their population overall.

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