Team NEO Releases Misaligned Opportunities Report

Misaligned Opportunities Examines How Racial Inequities Lead to Skills Gaps in Northeast Ohio

Team NEO, as a business and economic development organization, is focused on building a vibrant economy for Northeast Ohio. We are committed to developing strategies and solutions informed by robust data analysis to ensure that all members of our community have opportunities to participate in our prosperity.

Misaligned Opportunities 2020 Report Spread

Team NEO’s 2020 Misaligned Opportunities report – a new supplement to the annual Aligning Opportunities report that provides insights into the demand-supply imbalance in our region’s workforce – reveals data reflecting how opportunities to flourish have not been equal for all members of our community. The report was prepared in partnership with Delta Dental and with generous support from College Now of Greater Cleveland and Lumina Foundation.

This first edition of Misaligned Opportunities includes a robust dataset aimed at better defining workforce participation disparities in Northeast Ohio, particularly among persons of color, using metrics like educational attainment, entrepreneurship and racial proportionality of in-demand occupations.

Key highlights include the following:

Educational Attainment

Higher levels of education often lead to higher-wage occupations and greater opportunities for advancement. However, in three in-demand fields, minorities are underrepresented:

  • Health care is one of the strongest sectors in Northeast Ohio’s economy; however, whites account for 82% of Bachelor’s degree completions in Registered Nursing, compared with under 5% for Blacks. Conversely, Blacks are overrepresented in terms of Practical & Vocational Nursing completions, which often lead to lower-paying jobs within this sector.
  • Manufacturing in Northeast Ohio remains strong, yet whites account for 73% of postsecondary completions in the sector with Blacks only representing 10%.
  • Computer & IT boast the highest median annual salary among the three in-demand sectors; however, whites account for 63% of Computer Occupation postsecondary completions compared with 5% for Blacks.

Northeast Ohio Minority Business Enterprises and Entrepreneurship

Stark disparities exist in minority business enterprises and entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio.

  • Only 15% of businesses are minority-owned.
  • MBEs account for just 6% of firms with paid employees.

Top 20 In-Demand Occupations in Northeast Ohio

Of the top 20 in-demand occupations, offering family-sustaining wages and a low chance of automation in Northeast Ohio, minorities are underrepresented.

  • Information Security Analysts account for 79% white, with Black at 12%.
  • Whites make up 85% of the Financial Analysis occupation while Blacks represent 7%.
  • Software Developers are also overwhelming white at 74% while Blacks represent only 4% of this in-demand occupation.

Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler shared his insights: “The message is clear that economic success has not been equitable for all members of our community, particularly people of color. We hope this report can be used as a starting point to inform conversations on how racial inequities lead to talent gaps in Northeast Ohio, and to influence solutions that we, as a region, can implement to effect positive change.”   

Mike Loeffler, region director, Delta Dental of Ohio, added, “Delta Dental is proud to sponsor the 2020 Misaligning Opportunities report. We understand that socio-economic inequities run deep; we’re committed to supporting transformative initiatives, including this research and our own Inclusion and Diversity Initiative.”

Team NEO reached out to business and community leaders to get their input before publishing the report.

“As a Black leader in Northeast Ohio and a board member for Team NEO, I felt it imperative to contribute and provide feedback on this topic,” said Eric Logan, Principal, Industrial Manufacturing Strategy, KPMG. “We are at a crossroads in our societal history when topics of racial equity and inclusion have increasingly been discussed from the newspaper’s front page to the dining room table. KPMG is proud to support Team NEO because they make our community stronger, and this report helps us understand our challenges to help us be better.”

Jacob Duritsky, Vice president of Strategy and Research for Team NEO, concluded, “The objective of this research is to better define the challenge and inspire solutions that will positively impact both personal and regional economic growth.”  

About Team NEO

Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of Northeast Ohio. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in Northeast Ohio’s 18-county region; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market Northeast Ohio as a region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education and training for the region’s 4.3 million people.