Created through legislation enacted in November 2017, In-Demand Jobs Week is being coordinated by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services with assistance from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
The purpose of In-Demand Jobs Week is to raise awareness among students, their families and job-seekers of jobs, industries and skills that are in demand in their local communities, as well as the educational requirements for and expected financial benefits of those jobs.
Ohio’s success at filling in-demand jobs and continuing to attract them to Ohio will play a big role in shaping our state’s economic future — on both an individual level and a state level. College-level learning is key to individual opportunity, competitive advantage and economic prosperity — for individuals, for businesses and for the state.
Job creators seek communities, regions and states where skilled and credentialed workers are abundant. Winning the global competition for investment and jobs will require higher levels of educational attainment. That’s the clear path to future economic opportunity and prosperity.
In-Demand Jobs Week events are more than just feel-good gatherings. We have a serious workforce crisis looming in Ohio. We face a severe shortage of skilled workers, commonly referred to as “the talent gap.”
Much reported, the talent gap in Ohio can be expressed in this way: In 2025, about two-thirds of all jobs in Ohio will require at least a credential of value beyond high school; today, however, just 44 percent of working-age adults in Ohio have such credentials.
The talent gap is not just an Ohio phenomenon. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2016 and 2026 there will be roughly 4.4 million new jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher. That’s almost three times the number of new jobs that will require only sub-baccalaureate education.
In Ohio, the talent gap crisis has driven state leaders to establish Ohio Attainment Goal 2025, a formal statewide goal for education attainment. Make no mistake — it’s an ambitious goal: 65 percent of Ohioans ages 25-64 will have a degree, certificate or other post-secondary credential of value in the workforce by 2025.
Failure to respond boldly to this challenge and with a real sense of urgency could have lasting economic consequences for our state.
By raising awareness of in-demand jobs, our state government also is shining a light on Ohio’s system of public four-year universities. These universities produce the majority of highly skilled, highly credentialed workers in Ohio. According to Ohio Means Jobs, 81 of the 100 highest-paying, in-demand jobs in Ohio require a bachelor’s degree or higher.
That’s why maintaining a strong, high-quality system of public universities is so important. It’s essential to closing the state’s talent gap and meeting the current and future needs of Ohio employers large and small.
Also cause for celebration is the substantial value Ohio’s public universities deliver to the residents of our state. We help Ohioans prosper. We develop Ohio’s workforce. We spur the state’s economy through tech transfer and commercialization. We conduct basic research for the common good. And we work hard to help keep a college education affordable.
The data clearly show that the surest way to the middle class is a university-level degree. And, we are proud to note, the trajectory of new holders of baccalaureate degrees from Ohio’s public universities is on the rise. In the past decade, 2008-2017, Ohio’s public universities have increased the number of bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees they have awarded by 28 percent.
Like In-Demand Jobs Week, that too is something worth celebrating.