Survey says more jobs coming

December 1, 2007

LIMA ? There could be as many as 1,500 new jobs coming to the region in the next three years. But first we need to get people trained to do them.

Area business and government leaders met Friday to discuss the findings of a survey conducted by the West Central Ohio Manufacturing Consortium, Rhodes State College and the KnowledgeWorks Foundation. The results include the latest report on the economic climate and skill needs of manufacturers in west central Ohio.

According to the 65 companies surveyed, there will be about 1,500 manufacturing jobs created in the 10-county region over the next three years. But those jobs will require trained workers with a variety of skills, said WCOMC Director Doug Durliat.

?One of the dominating things is, they indicated there?s a lot of promoting from within. The vast majority, about 70 to 75 percent, say they promote from within. That means, as those with basic skill levels move up to intermediate positions, that makes room for workers to come in at the basic level. They can get their foot in the door and move up,? Durliat said.

Even at the basic level, workers need a variety of skills to keep up with the technological requirements of today?s manufacturers. That trend goes all the way to the top, Durliat said.

?The number of skills required at each skill level was the one thing that jumped out. There?s a noticeable jump in the types of skills you need. They require more technical skills at the basic level and as they go up into the intermediate level they need more leadership skills. Once we get up to that advanced level they are looking for more budget skills,? Durliat said.

The WCOMC was started in 2005 to create a pool of workers with the skills needed for manufacturing jobs. There are 24 members in the coalition, including most for the major manufacturers in the 10-county area. Members plan to use the survey results to prompt area colleges and vocational schools to provide the sort of specialized training industries need, Durliat said.

?We?re going to tap into our educational institutions, Rhodes State, Apollo, Wright State Lake Campus, Ohio Northern and the others around here, and we?re going to invite them in so they become part of the solution,? Durliat said.

That solution includes specialized training in welding, chemical operations, foundry sciences and other areas of need. The consortium will also use the survey results to lobby the state for help and money. The current administration has talked a lot about the sort of cooperation that?s already happening in west central Ohio, Durliat said.

?There seems to be a new philosophy with the new administration in Columbus. They?re talking about collaborating with a lot of different types of people for a common goal to provide special training. These are things we?ve been doing for the last two years,? Durliat said. ?The writing?s on the wall. There?s going to be a need for even more training.?