Diane Smith, Record-Courier
Sun, June 19, 2022, 5:27 AM·2 min read
Unemployment continues to decline in Portage County, Ohio with many jobs available in manufacturing, health care, hospitality — and Portage County’s own Job and Family Services department.
Mandy Minnick, administrator of Ohio Means Jobs Portage County, said April unemployment rates were 3.2% and were expected to be about the same for May. The rates had been steadily declining since January, when unemployment was at 4.6%. Both seasonal and full-time job opportunities are available, particularly in the manufacturing, medical and hospitality industries. “I don’t think you can go anywhere in our community without driving past a help wanted sign,” she said. “There are definitely opportunities.” At Guido’s and many other restaurants in the area, additional workers are needed. Manufacturing has dealt with workforce shortages for several years, but restaurants and other industries are experiencing it anew since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of existing factories are hiring workers. Several more are in the works, including LG Chem in Ravenna, Boston Retail Products, and speculative buildings in Streetsboro and Shalersville. In the past, Ohio Means Jobs Portage County has hosted a manufacturing internship program to train displaced workers for jobs at factories. But this year, the program hasn’t been able to be held because employers were so desperate to fill positions that they were filling the jobs immediately and doing the training themselves. Kellijo Jeffries, director of Job and Family Services, said she hopes to bring back the program later this year. Minnick said her department’s business services manager has been posting about 200 manufacturing calls every month. “There’s not a day that goes by that our business services manager doesn’t get a dozen calls from employers looking for workers in manufacturing,” she said. Jeffries said the worker shortage has even impacted her own department. The department, she said, has several openings for eligibility specialist, a case manager who determines whether people are eligible for benefits such as food stamps and cash assistance. The department also is in need of social workers in child and adult welfare because workers are being lost to higher-paying jobs in other social service agencies.
Reporter Diane Smith can be reached at 330-298-1139 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Portage unemployment down, many jobs available