Meeting touts successes of JobsOhio, APEG
CHILLICOTHE – Economic development efforts will remain a focus for two key organizations in the state as they press forward in an effort to remain competitive, officials said Tuesday.
Leaders from JobsOhio, the state’s privatized economic development arm, and the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth met Tuesday at the Chillicothe Country Club to provide an update on their accomplishments and what other upcoming initiatives they hope to tackle.
John Minor, president and chief investment officer of JobsOhio, said that, in the past 18 months, the organization has been able to double its staffing levels while developing a strong culture.
“The team we’ve built and the team we have, that’s been a big part of our success the last couple of years,” Minor said. “We’ve taken an industry-targeted approach.”
As part of its growth, JobsOhio also has created a team of five individuals who are dedicated to marketing efforts, though Minor stressed there are other things the organization needs to focus on moving forward.
“We have to do a better job of selling ourselves, telling our story,” he said.
Among the sectors that have proved to be successful in Ohio is shale energy, as the state has seen 1,500-plus wells drilled and more than 900 wells in production in the past four years, said David Mustine, JobsOhio’s senior managing director for shale energy and petrochemicals.
Mustine also pointed to the state being ranked first in polymer and rubber output, while it landed second for plastics output. That news also is positive for Ohio, he said.
“We have the demand for these products,” Mustine said.
Meanwhile, the automotive sector in Ohio continues to thrive as the second-largest automotive state in the country as employment grew by 23 percent from December 2010 to June 2014, said Kristi Tanner, JobsOhio’s managing director for automotive.
Ross County encompasses the largest employment base within APEG’s 25-county region with 3,086 jobs, Tanner said.
Minor said there is more work to be done as JobsOhio moves ahead into the future and plans to continue initiatives such as business development and attraction as well as retention and expansion efforts. JobsOhio also plans to focus on workforce development but will take some time to implement, he added.
“It’s important that we’re flexible and creative in what we can do,” Minor said. “We want to get this up and running as soon as we can. We want Ohio to be competitive as possible.”
The president and CEO of APEG, John Molinaro, also credited his organization’s success to individuals whom they work with across the region. APEG has been in operation for three years.
“We cannot do this without the people in local communities,” Molinaro said.
Mike Jacoby, APEG’s director for shale energy, also pointed to the importance of shale natural gas production in the region, saying it has gone up 51 percent annually since 2007. In 2014, a $2 billion investment was made within the APEG region in various shale products, Jacoby said.
“Shale is truly a game-changer,” he said.
Molinaro also said making sure that today’s youths are ready for the jobs that are available within the region is something that needs to occur.
“We need to make sure we’re preparing our kids for the jobs that exist here,” he said.
From Chillicothe Gazette | July 28, 2015