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Ohio positioning its workforce to capitalize on new opportunities

Written on Mar 31, 2022

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager 

Ohio has prospered despite significant pandemic-related challenges by empowering its citizens and communities, said  Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik. 

Lydia_Mihalik“Ohio's economy is truly surging,” Mihalik said. “Our bond rating is the highest that it's ever been since 1979. Our unemployment rate is only at 4.3% and near historic lows. The DeWine administration slashed state spending by $1.2 billion and brought a record-level surplus into our state treasury. And we cut taxes by more than $3.6 billion dollars.” 

Mihalik shared these insights at OSCPA’s March 24 Town Hall as she and OSCPA President & CEO Scott Wiley, CAE, engaged in a wide-ranging discussion that touched on the Intel project, the Great Resignation, the pandemic’s ongoing impact, and more. 

“All of this has been done during a global pandemic,” she said, “It's really a great time to be in the state of Ohio.” 

One of the state’s most successful initiatives has been TechCred, a program that reimburses employers for tech-focused credentials that take employees less than 12 months to complete. Mihalik said that since 2019, more than 1,700 Ohio employers have been approved for funding to enable their employees to obtain more than 36,000 tech-focused credentials, thereby enhancing employee skill levels.  

Mihalik also mentioned the Intel project, which will be the state’s biggest economic development project ever. The company's $20 billion investment in a new chip factory will create 3,000 high tech jobs in Ohio, with more than 7,000 construction jobs over the course of the build. This will also mean thousands of additional indirect and support jobs, including contracting positions, electricians, engineers and more. 

When Wiley asked Mihalik about the strategy for attracting more students to Ohio and keeping top talent in the state, she said it depends on several different factors. Matching the right talent with the right companies, connecting education institutions with employers who are hiring, encouraging businesses to provide apprenticeship programs, and luring manufacturers to the state are all areas of opportunity. 

“We've got a great group at (the Ohio Department of) Development that's working to make things happen,” Mihalik said. “And these are just some of the things that we're doing to help empower communities and help them succeed.”