The Greater Lima Region, Inc. is creating a strategic framework to align key community, economic and workforce development goals, including a unified marketing and branding strategy for our area. The formation of the GLR provides a great opportunity to be the glue, polish, and gas pedal to drive continued collaboration, consistency, efficiency and barrier removal for our region’s Economic Development Groups, Chambers of Commerce, Job and Family Services, counties and cities. Work force development is instrumental to this strategy.
Serving on a number of boards (Allen Economic Development Group, Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce and Greater Lima Region) as well as being the current chair for the Allen County Workforce Development Board has provided me a great opportunity to see how important a strategic approach to work force development is to our region. It is consistently an area of focus within all these organizations.
Currently, there are more than 5,000 open positions posted on Ohio Means Jobs in the Greater Lima Region (40 mile radius) which include Allen, Hancock, Shelby, Van Wert, Logan, Mercer, Auglaize, Hardin, Paulding, and Putnam counties. The positions available include a wide range of income and skill levels. The Greater Lima Region has:
• 1,200 entry level jobs (less than $30,000 annually).
• 1,400 middle income jobs ($30,000 to $49,000).
• 1,300 upper middle-income jobs ($50,000-$79,000)
• 400 high income jobs ($80,000 to $99,000).
• 600 six-figure jobs (more than $100,000).
To apply for these positions, visit: www.OhioMeansJobs.com
In addition to this current gap, there is a forecasted workforce shortage across all skill sets of approximately 22,000 workers by 2025.
Greater Lima Region Inc’s framework will help facilitate and support a coordinated and aligned industry and public multifaceted strategy to help address this workforce gap. Initially some of the key focus areas are engaging youth early, creating environments to connect the workforce and students to the employer, and utilizing educational and industrial partnerships to train the workforce of the future.
The GLR will expand upon the already valuable practices connecting residents and students to employers, while showcasing what our region has to offer. Some of these examples include:
• Opportunities for students to visit multiple industries within the region, creating awareness of all career possibilities in the Greater Lima Region. For example, job shadowing and high school trips to tour and learn about local businesses and opportunities.
• Makerfest connects employers with students and residents in the region. This annual career expo created by the Allen Economic Development Group/Link Lima has showcased nearly 100 of its world-class employers of the Greater Lima Region to young talent as well as the adult work force. More than 2,200 people participated in last year’s Makerfest, which continues to grow each year.
• Local colleges, universities and mechanical schools engaging area students with businesses. For example: internships, apprenticeships, specialized certifications at education facilities (ie operator certification at Apollo Career Center), and Ohio Northern University student lunches with local business professionals.
The opportunities are endless for our region with a successful workforce development strategy. The benefits to getting this right include:
• Positioning the greater Lima region for growth with existing businesses and enhancing the ability of our area to attract new businesses.
• Our region being recognized for its high quality and quantity of work force
• Retaining our talented youth in the area after high school, technical school, and college or university.
• Attracting new people to our area creating new neighbors and friends
• Increasing the population of our area — bustling downtown areas, increased attendance in education facilities, increased opportunities for small and large businesses, housing, recreation facilities, arts, etc.
These changes can be transformational for our region and usher in exciting times to strengthen our already great communities. The decision to become actively involved and support GLR was an easy choice. The GLR strategy aligns well with Nutrien’s goal to have a positive impact where our employee’s live and work and in the communities that surround our facilities. We believe in active dialogue and supporting the economic and social well being of our communities through outreach, investment and employment opportunities. We are excited to be a part of the region, and with the commitment of the Greater Lima Region, Inc., we look forward to helping advance the future of our area.
The greater Lima region is a great place to live, work and play. I moved into the area over 25 years ago and am proud to call this home. To learn more about the Greater Lima Region please visit www.greaterlimaregion.com
Todd Sutton is general manager of Nutrien. Recently PotashCorp merged with Agrium forming Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services.