One of the primary needs for businesses looking to invest and expand is a sizable and skilled workforce. Many companies cite the caliber of workforce as their reason for investing in Ohio. More than 300 higher education campuses across the state graduate over 170,000 students annually. Ohio is also a top 10 state in the competitive labor environment as well as leading workforce development programs.
JobsOhio continually invests in initiatives to increase education and innovation in the state in order to create a workforce that’s competitively advantageous to companies.
In partnership with The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business, JobsOhio helped to facilitate projects as part of the Global Applied Projects (GAP) program. GAP is an experiential learning course that prepares Master of Business Administration (MBA) students at Fisher for international business careers through immersive, hands-on consulting experiences with companies located around the world.
Leveraging Student Experience and Expertise
Through GAP, student teams apply, integrate and focus skills learned in the MBA program to address real opportunities or business challenges faced by organizations. Competencies developed as part of the GAP program include leadership, teamwork, global communication, project management, presentation skills, industry and cultural expertise, and data collection and analysis.
Headed by Fisher’s Office of Global Business, JobsOhio sponsored two teams of six students that, throughout the spring 2020 semester, worked with two international companies —Mecc Alte and ID-Pal — to support the exploratory phases of their U.S. market entry efforts.
Mecc Alte is the largest independent producers of alternators, based in Vicenza, in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. While the company already has a sales and engineering presence in Illinois, it is exploring expanding within the U.S. market.
“As soon as we got in contact with the chance to participate on the project, we have been able to see the potential,” said Mario Carraro, managing director at Mecc Alte. “The idea of this collaboration has been rapidly spread in Mecc Alte, finding a lot of enthusiasm in the different areas: from HR to the commercial offices, [and] down in operations. For a global company manufacturing alternators such as Mecc Alte, [the] USA is one of our primary market (sic) and definitively made a lot of sense to focus on a bespoken project offered by [the] GAP project. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 situation did not allow [us] to get on board the full potential of such an initiative, but the project has been steered to the maximum opportunity possible without visits in person for the team of MBA candidates. Accountable value has been delivered to our organization, and our group returned for a small tile in the big mosaic of the experience of the students. Definitively a program that I would recommend other companies to attend.”
Ireland-based ID-Pal is an award-winning identity verification solution and financial technology firm that enables businesses to ensure the identity of their customers in order to comply with anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regulations. ID-Pal is working with its flagship customers in Europe to roll out its services across its U.S. operations and parent companies. The firm engaged the GAP students to deliver several U.S. entry case studies, an overall market assessment and a regulatory policy assessment.
“Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis, this project generated key insights regarding ID-Pal’s target markets, market positioning and regulatory environment which has helped shape our U.S. growth strategy,” said James O’Toole, chief business officer at ID-Pal. “The level of commitment shown by the students to accelerate their learning curve and produce a meaningful deliverable was exceptional.”
Providing Value to the Business Community
The coronavirus pandemic presented challenges that impacted the program’s full potential, but the companies walked away with meaningful deliverables and actionable recommendations.
Andrew Deye, VP of Strategy at JobsOhio, said, “We are very pleased to be able to offer select companies assistance with their development plans, by engaging one of Ohio’s most noteworthy assets, The Ohio State University while also demonstrating the exceptional skills these young business professionals have.”
For the students, this program provided them an opportunity to connect education to real-world application. Now, they’re further prepared to enhance their careers.
“The partnership of our friends in the business community provides our students with a richness that enhances their educational experience at Fisher and fosters their passion for business,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business at Fisher. “As a GAP partner, JobsOhio’s collaboration has helped shape the educational and professional development of our MBA students. Despite the limitations surrounding international travel this spring, the GAP experience challenged our students to develop and apply a variety of critical skills — problem-solving, project management and consulting, among others — that they will soon utilize as business leaders.”
JobsOhio plans to continue engaging students and companies through additional GAP programs. JobsOhio has also made talent evolution a key element of its new Go Forward strategy.