The Central Ohio Manufacturing Partnership (COMP) was one of 12 workforce partnership organizations to receive an award through the Industry Sector Partnership Grant announced Tuesday. The Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation awarded $2.5 million in grants to organizations that support the workforce pipeline for industries such as health care, information technology, manufacturing, construction and transportation.
“These awards will jumpstart and expand workforce partnerships across Ohio that are helping more individuals earn the skills needed to successfully find employment,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said in a prepared statement. “This is real-world skill development where educators and businesses work together to help people gain the skills they need to get hired for jobs that pay well and have a future. Enhancing meaningful partnerships between the business and education community is key to growing Ohio’s workforce and filling in-demand jobs at a time when many people are looking for opportunities, but not sure where to start.”
With this grant, COMP will undertake the implementation of three key strategies to further construct the manufacturing talent pipeline in central Ohio.
“At the forefront of all three of COMP’s grant activities is our commitment to work with educators and workforce partners to identify strategies for reaching underrepresented populations and those with barriers to employment”, said COMP President Shawn Hendrix. “We are developing outreach programs that include marketing initiatives and scholarship programs with the goal of increasing the specific industry workforce participation of people of color, women, and veterans.”
This grant will allow COMP to develop a new automation training program at one of the local Ohio Technical Centers, and then cascade this program to other technical centers in the future. Once established, COMP will also use funds from this grant to award 10 scholarships to minimize barriers for adults who wish to enroll in this program. COMP will then promote the new automation program, and other existing manufacturing education programs at the local Ohio Technical Centers, to potential students who are currently not working in manufacturing.
Hendrix added that COMP will also reach out to area manufacturers, as many are not aware of these local programs that are available to their incumbent workers. COMP’s final strategy is to continue to build manufacturing membership. As more manufacturing members join and actively engage in training their existing employees, and hiring new employees that have completed post-secondary manufacturing education, the talent pipeline will continue to be built with Ohioans. This will allow employees to earn a living wage, and manufacturing will be assured to be sustainable in central Ohio. The other award recipients include Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership, Appalachian Ohio Manufacturers’ Coalition, CEA Cleveland Builds, ConxusNEO Industry Sector Partnerships, Information Technology Accelerator Partnership, Lorain County Manufacturing Sector Partnership, Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, Ohio IT Apprenticeship Collaborative, Raise the Bar Hancock County, Workforce Connect Manufacturing Sector Partnership and Workforce Partnership of Shelby County.
Industry Sector Partnerships are designed to develop workforce strategies specific to the various regions around the state, with the goal of driving collaboration between local businesses, workforce professionals, education and training providers, and community stakeholders, according to the state’s release. Grant funding will help support the operations of both new and existing Industry Sector Partnerships.
“A skilled workforce will continue to be a cornerstone of our economic strategy moving forward, and Industry Sector Partnerships develop targeted strategies to address regional workforce needs,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency.
“We are providing Ohioans with training to grow or start their career.” Hendrix added, “As manufacturing is Ohio’s largest economic sector, COMP is committed to making central Ohio a leader in manufacturing that is globally competitive through the concurrent development and deployment of both our fellow citizens and technology. We wish to thank again everyone at the State of Ohio who worked from the inception through the award of these valuable and impactful grants.”
COMP is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization serving eleven counties in central Ohio; Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Knox, Licking, Logan, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway, and Union. Its mission is “to create a connected system to source manufacturers with qualified talent.”