Misalignment of High-demand Jobs and Education of Northeast Ohio Workforce

Most dramatic gaps lie in three important sectors: manufacturing, health care, and computer and IT

There is a misalignment of workforce and job opportunities offering family-sustaining wages in growing, high-potential industries, says the Aligning Opportunities report by Team NEO. The report, produced in partnership with Delta Dental and with the generous support of The Sherwin-Williams Company and Alliance Solutions Group, was released today during a virtual event.

Aligning Opportunities 2020 Report Spread

In its fourth year, Aligning Opportunities compares job openings in Northeast Ohio to the type and number of credentials awarded here, revealing a need to boost educational attainment across the region. The report notes the likelihood that the post-COVID environment will demand even more credentialed workers.

Although it focuses on occupations in three high-growth industries — computer and IT, health care and manufacturing — the 2020 Aligning Opportunities report also provides fresh insights into emerging high-potential careers.

Concurrently, Team NEO took a deeper look at equity as it relates to labor force opportunities. The resultant stand-alone piece, Misaligned Opportunities, was released earlier this summer, providing insights into the disconnect between minority communities and high-paying occupation opportunities. The study found, for example, that African Americans, Hispanics and other minority groups have lower levels of educational attainment and higher unemployment rates, and earn a lower median household income than white and Asian populations.

Key highlights of Aligning Opportunities include the following:

  • Education Alignment
    • By 2025, 65% of Ohio’s workforce will need to have a 2- or 4-year degree, or certified marketable skill. Today, Northeast Ohio falls short of this mark, with only 34% of the population attaining this level of education.
    • Further adding to this misalignment is the 2001-2018 population drop of 155,000 and labor force drop of 146,000.
  • Graduation Retention
    • Increasing the attainment of education credentials and connecting graduates to jobs in the region are imperative to closing the talent gap. Work-based learning experiences, such as internships and apprenticeships, are one solution for increasing graduate retention.
  • Demand-Supply Alignment
    • Of 18 key occupation categories studied, only one met the credentials awarded to meet the needs of in-demand jobs.
  • Computer & IT Careers
    • 2,208 credentials were awarded in 2018; 4,249 entry-level jobs went unfilled.
    • Median annual salary is $78,165.
  • Manufacturing Careers
    • 1,978 credentials were awarded in 2018; 8,291 entry-level jobs went unfilled.
    • Median annual salary is $38,035.
  • Health Care Careers
    • 10,642 credentials were awarded in 2018; 4,789 entry-level jobs went unfilled.
    • Median annual salary is $65,687.

“There is a significant gap between employer demand and the types of degrees being offered. By 2025, a projected 65 percent of jobs will require a postsecondary credential, and there will continue to be a significant gap,” explained Jacob Duritsky, VP of Strategy and Research, for Team NEO.

Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler shared his insights into Aligning Opportunities: “We know we have a role to play in better understanding our region’s challenges and recommending potential solutions to foster both personal and regional economic growth. By examining the supply-and-demand imbalance of our region’s workforce, we can inform and influence talent strategies for higher education, sector partnerships and job training programs. To this end, Team NEO has formed a Talent Development Council that brings together leaders of various segments to address education pathways to career strategies. Our region has extraordinary power to effect change when we work together.”

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.