Stark workforce forum: Intel to attract young workers to Ohio manufacturing jobs

Paige Bennett
The Repository
Para Jones, president of Stark State College, Kevin Hoggatt, director of state government affairs for Ohio at Intel Corp., Ryan Augsburger, president of the Ohio Manufacturers' Association and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose answer questions on the statewide workforce panel at Stark State College.
  • The Canton Regional Chamber held a forum Friday to discuss the state of the workforce.
  • Statewide and regional leaders discussed the future of the workforce in Ohio.
  • Stark County has 6,500 job openings right now.

JACKSON TWP. ‒ Intel's plan to open a new chip manufacturing site in Central Ohio will attract young workers to manufacturing jobs, according to leaders in business and education.

"Our young people know about Intel, and they're kind of excited about the opportunity to go to work in a high-tech manufacturing firm where the sky is the limit in terms of their own careers," Stark State President Para Jones said.

Intel is expected to hire 3,000 workers when it opens two microchip plants in New Albany. Jones said having a company with global recognition bring manufacturing jobs to the Buckeye State will boost young people's perception of careers in the industry.

"We're changing the way people think," she said.

Kevin Hoggatt, director of state government affairs for Ohio at Intel, said 70% of the company's Ohio workforce will be technicians. These positions require a two-year associate degree or less, he said, and Intel is working currently on developing a shorter curriculum to help lower the entry barrier to these jobs.

"We want to meet people where they are," Hoggatt said.

About 25% of Intel jobs will be engineers, and 5% will support roles like human resources and finance.

"I truly believe that it's going to be transformational not just for Central Ohio, but for our whole state," he said. "We're bringing an entire industry here, and really developing an ecosystem ... we anticipate 30 to 40 of our supplier companies coming to Ohio because we are here, and we are truly trying to build the Silicon heartland."

Ryan Augsburger, president of the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, said manufacturing continues to play a significant role in the state's economy, but that many employers have struggled with finding workers in recent years, even before the pandemic.

The discussion took place during the Canton Regional Chamber's State of the Workforce Forum Friday at Stark State College.

The event featured state and regional panels of business leaders, who discussed what they're seeing in the workforce. Statewide panelists included Jones, Hoggatt, Augsburger and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

Regional panelists included JoAnn Breedlove, executive director of the Stark Tuscarawas Development Board; Joe Chaddock, superintendent at the Stark County Educational Service Center; Jim Batcheider, president of the Stark County Manufacturing Workforce Development Partnership; and Samuel Muhammad, adult education and workforce coordinator for the National Center for Urban Solutions.

The audience listens during Friday's Canton Regional Chamber's State of the Workforce forum at Stark State College.

Here are a few key takeaways from the event:

Stark County needs workers in health care, hospitality

The Stark community has about 6,500 job openings, Breedlove said.

That number comes from an online database from OhioMeansJobs that pulls job openings looking for Stark-area employees.

Of the 6,500 openings, about 1,700 were in the hospitality industry, 1,600 in health care, 800 in management operations and 500 in manufacturing, Breedlove said.

More employers are paying to upskill their employees through continued education

Jones said many employers — particularly in health care and manufacturing — have partnered with Stark State to give their employees the chance to upskill through continued education. Many are hiring entry-level workers and then paying their tuition at Stark State so they can advance themselves.

Stark State calls this model "learn and earn."

"That is really the model of education and workforce that we think is the future model of educating and advancing people, but especially our Ohioans with these wonderful job opportunities," Jones said.

The number of Ohioans launching businesses is increasing

LaRose said there has been an uptick in business registrations in recent years.

The Buckeye State had record-setting years for new businesses in 2020 and 2021. The state saw a drop from 197,000 new businesses in 2021 to 179,636 new businesses in 2022. LaRose said factors like workforce shortages and inflation contributed to that decline.

"We've seen positive news though in the first couple months of this year," LaRose said. "Of course, we don't have the numbers for March yet, but for January and February, both of those were record setting months."

Reach Paige at 330-580-8577, or on Twitter @paigembenn.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose answers question on the statewide workforce panel at Stark State College.