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Stark County Manufacturing Workforce Development Partnership to Receive up to $930,000 from Federal ARP Funds’ “Good Jobs Challenge” Program

The Stark County Manufacturing Workforce Development Partnership’s funds are part of a $23.5 million grant awarded to the Ohio Manufacturers Association for a 3-year workforce development action plan focused on recruiting and upskilling manufacturing workers across the state. 

The Stark County Manufacturing Workforce Development Partnership (SCMWDP) is in line to receive up to $930,000 over the next three years as part of The Ohio Manufacturers Association’s (OMA) $23,492,808 award from the Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act Good Jobs Challenge program, which was announced August 3.

OMA is the lead applicant and system lead entity of one of 32 programs throughout the country to receive a portion of $500 million in federal funds aimed at getting Americans back to work by strengthening workforce partnerships that lead to good-paying jobs.

The SCMWDP is among OMA’s network of manufacturing industry sector partnerships throughout the state that will receive funding from this grant to carry out specific recruiting and upskilling components of OMA’s workforce development action plan in Stark County.

“This investment in combination with the guidance and best practice sharing with OMA and peer industry sector partnerships will have a tremendous impact in our region for growing our local trained and credentialed manufacturing workforce,” said James Batchelder, SCMWD President of the Board.

50,000+ annual job openings over next 36 months

More than 1,600 manufacturers comprise OMA’s statewide ISP network, including 120 that submitted letters of commitment to source new hires from this initiative. In total, these employers indicated a demand for 25,000+ hires in the next five years at an annual wage of $17.60/hour, which reflects the prevailing wages for the initiative’s targeted in-demand occupations of machining, production, welding, industrial maintenance, and automation and robotics.

In total, these targeted occupations are projected to have 50,000+ annual openings and 150,000 openings in the next 36 months in Ohio.

Targeting underrepresented populations across Ohio’s communities

OMA’s initiative prioritizes on Ohio’s 32 Appalachian communities, the eight largest urban counties, and underrepresented groups among the manufacturing workforce including people of color, women, veterans and returning citizens.

“We project 1,000 Ohio employers to engage in hiring, retaining or advancing a participant served by this initiative,” said Ryan Augsburger, OMA president. “Our goal is to enroll 6,000 participants across the state in one or more training programs that leads to a job offer or upskilling opportunity at their incumbent employer. Added emphasis will be on reaching job seekers from underrepresented members of our communities.”

In response to regional needs and the needs of the target populations, the ISPs will be led to execute an OMA-developed, evidence-based Entry-Level Learn-and Earn (ELLE) model to prepare a future workforce. The strategy, which gives employers the opportunity to build a workforce trained to their specific needs, includes recruiting, pre-screening, preparing job skills training, onboarding, and ongoing support and job coaching components.

“Ultimately, the Good Jobs Challenge grant will lay the groundwork for exponential, ongoing impacts beyond the 36-month grant period by operationalizing sustainable new training programs, formalizing referral partnerships, accelerating ISPs’ momentum, and building underrepresented communities’ interest in manufacturing careers,” Augsburger said. 

About the Stark County Manufacturing Workforce Development Partnership

The Stark County Manufacturing Workforce Development Partnership is a non profit 501c3 with the mission to support Stark County manufacturers’ growth and expansion by offering seamless career pathways, delivering inclusive training and education, and sharing best practices within the manufacturing workforce development community which includes manufacturers, workforce development professionals, economic development organizations, educators, and community-based organizations.

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About Ohio Manufacturers’ Association

The Ohio Manufacturers' Association is Ohio's largest statewide business association comprised solely of manufacturers. Established in 1910, the OMA's mission is protect and grow Ohio manufacturing. It represents manufacturers of all sizes in every subsector of the industry. Manufacturing is Ohio’s largest economic sector, employing approximately 675,000 Ohioans and contributing more than $127 billion annually to the economy. Visit, or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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