Celebrating 12 Years of Innovative Economic Development
Published: Mon Aug 21 2023
We recently lit the candles on a significant milestone – JobsOhio is 12 years old! In 2011, former Governor John Kasich put pen to paper and signed House Bill 1 into law, giving birth to a new era of economic growth and job creation in the Buckeye State.
JobsOhio was formed as a private nonprofit corporation to drive job creation and capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention, and expansion. This innovative model was designed to allow for more flexibility and responsiveness than traditional state-led economic development efforts.
Now, 12 years and thousands of critical projects later, JobsOhio continues to serve as a guide for companies looking for long-term success by finding a home or expanding their footprint in the Buckeye State.
The Genesis of JobsOhio
Prior to 2011, Ohio struggled to recover from the Great Recession, and high unemployment plagued the state. To reinvigorate the economy, Governor Kasich and lawmakers took bold action to reimagine Ohio's approach to economic development.
Enter the creation of JobsOhio.
Staffed by private sector experts and with vast experience in working with public entities, the JobsOhio team comprises private sector experts with extensive experience collaborating with public entities. They work alongside state and local governments while maintaining operational autonomy.
In this way, JobsOhio was envisioned as a nimble, hybrid entity, combining the agility and innovation of a private corporation with the accountability of a public institution. JobsOhio's funding model further underscores its unique status – Instead of relying on budget allocations, taxpayer money, and navigating political disputes, the organization is funded by a lease of Ohio’s liquor enterprise. This has ensured a consistent, reliable funding stream, enabling a sharp focus on driving job creation, enabling new capital investment, and guiding companies in Ohio.
Jobsohio’s Mission and the Elements of Economic Development
To fully understand JobsOhio's mission, it is helpful to explore the broader concept of economic development. At its core, economic development refers to efforts that improve economic well-being and quality of life in a region. This is achieved primarily through:
Job creation: Adding new jobs and retaining existing jobs.
Business growth: Supporting the startup, growth, and expansion of companies.
Income growth: Attracting higher-paying jobs that increase incomes.
Tax base expansion: Increasing business activities that grow the tax base.
There are several key strategies to drive these factors of economic development, each proactively managed by experts at JobsOhio:
Business Attraction:Marketing, incentives, and initiatives to attract new companies and investment from outside the state.
Business attraction is central to JobsOhio's mission, and it all starts with our expert team of industry veterans drawn from our nine targeted industry sectors, plus military and federal specialists. These industry pros and other economic development experts at JobsOhio proactively identify and contact business leaders across the country and around the world, showcasing all that Ohio has to offer for industries like manufacturing, technology, financial services, healthcare, food processing, logistics, and more.
When a company shows interest, the “full court press” is on. Our project managers dive deep into understanding that business's specific needs. We assemble a tailored incentive package that includes site identification, project investments, performance-based grants, workforce training and placement programs, and other benefits that make the case for choosing Ohio compelling.
Business Retention & Expansion:Working with existing local companies to retain their operations and support their growth and expansion plans.
Whether a client company is home grown or has just made the decision to come to Ohio, when the deal is done our work has just begun. We have boots-on-the-ground project managers that assist with every aspect of the expansion, from site selection to workforce hiring to community relations. We become an extension of the company’s team to ensure the project finishes on-time and on-budget.
When expansion projects or growth hurdles arise, our team springs into action. We help companies navigate incentives, government relations, supply chain needs, and more to support investments. A prime example is the JobsOhio Workforce Grant. This performance-based grant provides funding to offset the costs of onboarding, training, and travel.
Talent Development:Connecting education and training programs to equip workers with the skills needed by employers.
Our Talent Acquisition Services team partners directly with companies to understand their hiring and training needs. We create customized strategies to find, recruit and upskill talent tailored to each business.
Need help getting the word out for open engineering roles? We’ll craft targeted marketing campaigns. Struggling to evaluate technical candidates? We’ll conduct online assessments. Have new hires needing project management training? We’ll fund bootcamps to equip them with the skills.
JobsOhio also connects companies to Ohio’s outstanding higher education institutions. With more than 200 public and private universities and regional campus locations, companies have a deep pool of graduates to tap into across STEM, business, healthcare, and other fields.
Community Development:Investing in infrastructure, downtown revitalization, affordable housing, and other efforts to boost quality of life and competitiveness.
We recognize that for businesses to thrive, the communities around them must be vibrant places to live, work, and play. Our community development initiatives aim to boost quality of life and competitiveness in cities and towns throughout the state.
A core component is our Vibrant Communities Program. This provides funding to assist eligible small and mid-sized cities with catalytic economic development projects that will attract new business investment.
JobsOhio also collaborates with industry leaders that are investing in communities. For instance, Intel’s groundbreaking new semiconductor facilities will transform the greater Columbus region. JobsOhio is working closely with Intel on workforce, education, and community integration to smooth the path to full operations and maximize local impact.
Innovation:Building an entrepreneurial culture that spurs startups and emerging technologies through R&D.
Innovation is in Ohio's DNA, from the Wright Brothers pioneering flight to Ohioans walking on the moon. JobsOhio builds on this spirit of innovation through a bold strategy focused on three imperatives: strategically deploying venture capital funding into Ohio's entrepreneurial ecosystem, accelerating research discoveries into commercial products through collaborations between academia and industry, and creating urban Innovation Districts where entrepreneurs, tech startups, and corporations can connect more deeply.
Regional Growth: Partnering with organizations in every corner of the state to promote economic opportunities locally and statewide.
Together, we strive to tap into each region's unique strengths and assets to cultivate local job growth and investment.
JobsOhio’s first 12 years are just the beginning. With immense Buckeye pride, we press forward in utilizing all of these strategies in a balanced way to drive job growth and capital investment for maximum statewide economic impact.
We hope this glimpse into JobsOhio’s origin story and strategies gives you a sense of how we help unlock opportunity and growth for companies and communities alike. There's a reason both domestic firms and global leaders like Amgen, Intel, Ford, Amazon, Honda, and GM chose Ohio for significant job-creating investments. Ohio offers the total package for business success, and we’re thrilled to connect you to the possibilities.
Here’s to many more years of supercharging Ohio's economic development engine and guiding companies looking to locate or expand in Ohio for long-term success for all!