Team NEO Talent Reports Examine Minority and Women Talent in Northeast Ohio Workforce

Event showcases challenges and solutions

This morning Team NEO socialized its data-rich insights to help the Northeast Ohio Region attract and retain female and minority talent for in-demand jobs with family-sustaining wages. Two hundred attendees enjoyed a conversation with new higher education presidents: Dr. Laura Bloomberg of Cleveland State University and Dr. Michael Baston of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C©) who shared their perspectives on the Northeast Ohio Region’s workforce strategies, opportunities for the future, and insights on challenges and solutions in their experience with women and minority students. The attendees also enjoyed a panel discussion with economic development practitioners NaSheka Combs-Lemon, Career Connect Engagement Manager for Strengthening Stark and Dr. Jennifer Ross, Vice President of Diversity, Education & Engagement for Akron Urban League. The panelists discussed solutions their organizations are implementing to advance opportunities for minorities and women.

The reports, produced in partnership with Delta Dental and with generous support from Deaconess Foundation, Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio Inc., MAGNET, PNC, Sherwin-Williams, and Swagelok, are targeted research pieces that focus on structural barriers and other observations relating to Northeast Ohio’s female (“Lost Opportunities”) and minority (“Misaligned Opportunities”) talent pools. Both are part of a family of talent-oriented research insights Team NEO has developed to understand the talent supply/demand imbalance in Northeast Ohio (“Aligning Opportunities”). The analysis has been used by higher education leaders, workforce development organizations, and the business community to develop/guide workforce strategies over the years. We update each report annually to highlight new findings, champion productive initiatives, and encourage workforce strategy alignment throughout the region.

Lost Opportunities was released earlier this month. Highlights of Misaligned Opportunities include:

  • Education trends indicate that while Black or African American students make up the largest slice of minority students in Northeast Ohio, Hispanic or Latinx and Asian students completion rates have grown at a higher rate over time.
  • Postsecondary enrollment has trended upwards over the last decade; however, some minority students are still underrepresented in completions.
    • Hispanic community shows highest increase from 2010-2020
    • Black student enrollment declined 4.6%
  • STEM completions are also trending upwards. Once again, Hispanic students show highest percentage of growth. Black students have also increased by 10% from 2010-2020.
  • Top completions indicate high interest in Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies, Registered Nursing, Business, Medicine, Finance, and Computer Science. While all are important, STEM degrees are projected to be in high demand in the future.

“Companies within our region as well as companies considering their first investment here view talent as a key success driver. These data insights are critically important to our community’s effort to understand our various talent pools in greater depth – who is available, who is prospering, and who is facing barriers in accessing the education, training, and in-demand jobs our economy is looking to fill,” said Team NEO Chief Executive Officer Bill Koehler. “We look forward to continuing the conversation to impact change.”

About Team NEO

Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of the Northeast Ohio Region. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in the region’s 18 counties; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market the Northeast Ohio Region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education, and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. We do this to build a more vibrant regional economy –  one that is more talented, equitable, competitive, innovative, resilient, and prosperous. For more information, visit