New Report Finds Northeast Ohio Will Need More Qualified Workers by 2020

A new report has found that Northeast Ohio is poised to create nearly 169,000 new jobs by the end of the decade. At the same time, the study also found that the region will struggle to find enough applicants with the right qualifications on their resumes

 to fill those openings.

According to the quarterly economic projections by the development agency Team Northeast Ohio (TeamNEO), despite the 8.6% predicted job growth, businesses will likely have to recruit new workers with the right kind of training from outside the area.

It’s by and large the higher-skilled jobs, not necessarily college level, but jobs that require training and skills where the growth is going to occur, Tom Waltermire, TeamNEO’s chief executive, told the Plain Dealer.

Waltermire said that part of the problem is that there will not be enough high school graduates in the region who will continue their education.

We still have a massive number of kids in the city of Cleveland who aren’t graduating from high school in the midst of a skills shortage, he added. “They’re not going to be able to take on the jobs that are coming.”

TeamNEO noted that if its projections hold true, Cleveland and other cities will have to significantly increase their respective populations by 2020 in order to grow the economy. Currently there are fewer than 150,000 unemployed people in the region – not nearly enough to fill the number of anticipated job openings.

Employers will need to compete for talent, Waltermire said. “It’s going to get down to population. We’re going to have to figure out how to get more people here.”

The region is also expected to need to hire a growing number of people who are looking for career in health care. TeamNEO said that it believes the largest number of new jobs in the region will be generated in the health care sector. Over the past decade, the health care sector grew from 196,000 to 303,000 jobs. By 2020, 16% of the area’s workforce is expected to be working in hospitals, nursing homes or other health institution.

In Akron earlier this year, a number of large health care organizations sponsored a career fair for high school and middle school students to try to attract potential workers to the emerging field. Event sponsors told the Akron Beacon Journal that some of the hottest health care jobs today include clinical nurse specialists, physical therapy assistants, information technology support and pharmacists clinical coordinators.

Other sectors that will create more jobs in Ohio include the scientific and technical fields, as well as construction, finance and hospitality.

As far as manufacturing jobs, TeamNEO was a little less optimistic. The group predicts manufacturing and factory jobs will likely shrink slightly over the next 8 years. However, if the state’s growing shale gas industry begins to generate more regional jobs, it will help the manufacturing sector grow as a whole, which in turn could open up more positions for skilled trade workers with the right experience on their resume.

Waltermire said despite the fact that Northeast Ohio is expected to see a 23% increase in the production of regional goods through the end of the decade, hiring will remain flat because many manufacturers are investing in automation.

Michelle Cornerford, a managing director of the Cleveland-based Austin Consulting, told Crain’s Cleveland Business that local communities can only attract more manufacturing firms to the state by backing up claims that there are large pools of talented machinists, welders, electricians and others with related work experience on their resume to fill future job openings.x

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