Cuyahoga County, Cleveland seeking to hire workforce development leaders

February 24, 2022
Kaitlin Durbin,
http://Cleveland.comCuyahoga County, Cleveland seeking to hire workforce development leaders

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland are seeking to hire two people to beef up the area’s workforce development efforts.

The county is hiring a deputy director of workforce development who will also serve as chief financial officer of the Cuyahoga County Workforce Development Board (CCWDB) and be the “primary liaison” between the county, city, and board.

This person will oversee strategies and implementation of Ohio Means Jobs programs, including directing financing, and will report to the director of economic development.

The city is hiring an executive director of the CCWDB who will also serve as chief executive officer for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act activities and oversee all of the other branches. This person will have a “deep knowledge and understanding of historical inequities related to race, gender, ableism, sexual orientation, and geography, and will be culturally competent to lead activities which advance equity in these areas,” the city’s job posting says.

Mayor Justin Bibb says the two leaders will execute a new vision for workforce strategy in the area, meant to invest in homegrown talent while also attracting new talent to the city. The current interim director, Frank Brickner, is retiring at the end of the month.

“Our region can become a model for economic growth, but we need to work together to develop the workforce,” Bibb said in a written statement Tuesday. “This collaboration with Cuyahoga County allows us to engage and align resources with local initiatives and better connect job seekers to careers.”

The announcement comes as businesses, restaurants, and government agencies county-wide have been navigating a national worker shortage. Locally, businesses started cutting back hours or closing because of low staffing.

In November of 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.6 million people had quit their jobs and 11 million positions nationwide were unfilled. Ohio alone had 389,000 vacancies then, its second highest number ever. The phenomenon has been chalked up to childcare costs, health concerns amid the pandemic, increased stimulus money and workers rethinking their careers.

The Fund for Our Economic Future is currently conducting a survey of the modern worker’s wants and needs in a workplace. The results are meant to give employers deeper insights than standard workforce data.

The county, too, has been taking steps to cultivate and entice new talent.

County Executive Armond Budish announced a $2.4 million tuition reimbursement program where county employees can take courses and seek degrees through Baldwin Wallace College, Cleveland State University, and Cuyahoga Community College to help advance their careers.

He also proposed a new pilot program with the Ohio Department of Higher Education that will help more Ohio National Guard soldiers seek post-secondary education, graduate and find jobs. Details of that program have not been finalized.

“All residents should have the opportunity for a productive career, and that means helping our residents obtain the training they need,” Budish said Tuesday in an emailed statement to media. “Our regional economy depends on having well qualified workers available to fill jobs for our businesses.”

The job postings can be found on the city and county’s respective websites.