Skip to content
News & Press

News & Press

Ohio To Work Initiative to Help Displaced Workers Reskill and Restart their Careers

JobsOhio, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, launches innovative pilot initiative providing advanced career resources, coaching, and industry-targeted training

Tue Sep 15 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 15, 2020 Release

COLUMBUS – Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, JobsOhio, the state’s private nonprofit economic development corporation, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), are launching a pilot initiative in Cleveland – Cuyahoga County to help employers find the workers they need and to ensure workers have the skills employers desire.

The Ohio To Work initiative brings together JobsOhio’s network partners, as well as the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, Ohio Development Services Agency, Ohio Means Jobs, Urban League of Greater Cleveland, and Goodwill of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio, and an array of Ohio employers to provide essential support during this critical time when many Ohioans have been displaced from jobs due to the pandemic.

“Ohio To Work will bring together employers, educators and career coaches to help Ohioans get back to work,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Making it easier for workers to connect to in-demand jobs, or to the training that will qualify them for an in-demand job, is critical. We want to do all we can to help Ohioans find a new job and launch a new career.”

Like the rest of the nation, Ohio has experienced historically high job displacement, and connecting employers to workers armed with the right skills has never been more important.

“Ohio’s economy continues to improve, but many people attempting to re-enter the workforce need help navigating their way to a good job,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who leads the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation. “Ohio To Work helps people find a career and provides employers a competitive workforce—everyone wins.”

“Ohio To Work brings workforce resources together in a unique way – we believe it’s the most innovative, holistic approach of its kind in the nation and it’s what Ohioans need and deserve now, more than ever,” said JobsOhio President and CEO, J.P. Nauseef. “The goal is not a short-term job solution but a sustainable career with long-term job opportunities. It’s another example of how Ohioans come together in times of need.”

Ohio To Work will enhance existing resources, linking workers to jobs through talent evaluation tools and coaching, providing displaced workers with a mix of accelerated training and job exploration supported by innovative financing in collaboration with leading employers, training providers, and nonprofits.

“We are excited to partner with JobsOhio, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, the Ohio Development Services Agency and other partners on this initiative to help Ohio’s displaced and at-risk workers develop the skills they need to be successful in Ohio’s top jobs,” said Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall. “Ohio To Work will help individuals, it will help families, and it will help spur Ohio’s economic recovery.”

Across the U.S. economy, COVID-19 hurt industries across sector lines, displacing more than a million workers, disproportionately touching Ohio’s economically vulnerable populations, notably people without college degrees. Minorities have been particularly impacted by job losses, which is why Ohio Means Jobs, the Urban League, Goodwill, and other partners are supporting Ohio To Work’s to focus on equity and inclusion.

The Ohio To Work program will focus on three vital stakeholders: employers, existing service providers and displaced workers. It will broker a fast lane directly with employers who can bring immediate opportunity, or connect workers with training that can provide sustainable, long-term employment opportunities. Ohio To Work will focus on the healthcare, tech and advanced manufacturing industries. Cleveland - Cuyahoga County businesses already committed to interviewing talent from the Ohio To Work partnership can be found at

Cleveland – Cuyahoga County was chosen as the pilot for Ohio To Work because it is one of the regions in the state with the greatest health and economic impact from COVID-19. But it is also home to a large constellation of hiring employers as well as workforce service providers – the partnership at the epicenter of the program. The plan is to support the redeployment and training of displaced workers in communities across the county.

Job seekers will have access to a variety of services such as:

  • Talent evaluation tools allowing job seekers to explore new careers, connect with employers, and learn about training options
  • Amplified coaching and career navigation support, working in partnership with local workforce organizations and using a gold-standard developed in partnership with participating organizations and informed by real-time job insights from industry organizations
  • Access to virtual career fairs through a partnership with Job and Family Services showcasing hiring employers in high-demand industries and occupations
  • Expanded access to funding for future-proof skills and training

Insights gathered from the experience in Cleveland – Cuyahoga county will help to focus the program going forward. JobsOhio and ODJFS hope to scale the effort more broadly around the state.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga job seekers will be able to connect with Ohio To Work partners should visit Ohio To Work. Employers looking to reach out to workers can go to Ohio To Work/Employers to learn more about the benefits of joining and how to get involved.


“The Urban League of Greater Cleveland is very excited to partner with JobsOhio, Team NEO and the State of Ohio on this pivotal Ohio To Work initiative. As a trusted community partner, whose mission is to focus on the economic empowerment of African American and Minority communities, we know better than most the negative impact that COVID-19 has had on our community. As a regional leader in workforce development, we also understand the many barriers that members of our community face in accessing family sustainable wage jobs and careers. COVID-19 has also accelerated the need for jobseekers and the under-employed to upskill and reskill in order to be competitive in this new normal.  We believe that the Ohio To Work initiative is the type of workforce effort that will allow us to address those barriers and provide jobseekers with the training and development they need to access the jobs and careers necessary to support their family.”

  • Marsha A. Mockabee, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland

“Now more than ever we want to ensure every Ohioan has access to job and training opportunities. We’re proud to partner with JobsOhio and other state and regional organizations on the Ohio To Work initiative.”

  • Lydia Mihalik, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency

“Team NEO believes that thriving, vibrant economies benefit from aligned, nimble and innovative economic development organizations focused on driving sustainable growth and prosperity. We have been pleased to work with JobsOhio, established Northeast Ohio workforce development organizations, and leading Northeast Ohio businesses as part of this workforce initiative to help improve access to available jobs in the community at a time when our residents and displaced workers are in need of assistance.”

  • Bill Koehler, Team NEO CEO

"This isn't just a new program that will help so many people earn better wages and get into good paying careers. This is about Ohio coming together and working collaboratively to solve really difficult problems - things that for years have prevented the best talent from getting into industries where people are desperately needed like IT, healthcare, and manufacturing. This is collaboration of a new sort that reaches our city, county and state and spans non-profits, government, and business all aligned to make change happen."

  • Ethan Karp, MAGNET CEO

“Goodwill is proud to partner with JobsOhio, the State of Ohio and MAGNET for Ohio to Work. Our mission, focused on strengthening the community through the power of work, aligns perfectly with the goals for this initiative.  We look forward to helping individuals connect to in-demand jobs or identify re-skilling and training opportunities that prepare them for success with employers that are hiring in Cuyahoga County."

  • Mark Trew, Vice President of Mission Services, Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio, Inc.

"We are proud to partner with JobsOhio, Goodwill and the Urban League to pilot Ohio to Work in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Life has changed in unexpected and challenging ways. We’re here for you whether you need to find another job right now, get your career back on track or even to take some time to reassess your plans and explore new training opportunities. We’re joined together to offer a variety services and support to serve your needs. Contact us to start a conversation.”

  • Frank Brickner, Interim Executive Director/CEO Ohio Means Jobs/Cleveland-Cuyahoga County


 About JobsOhio
JobsOhiois a private nonprofit economic development corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion. The organization also works to seed talent production in its targeted industries and to attract talent to Ohio though Find Your Ohio. JobsOhio works with six regional partners across Ohio: Dayton Development CoalitionOhio Southeast Economic DevelopmentOne ColumbusREDI CincinnatiRegional Growth Partnership and Team NEO. Learn more at Follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

For more information, contact:

Matt Englehart, JobsOhio

(614) 300-1152