The Clinton County Workforce Collaborative: Creating Real Solutions

Clinton County Workforce Collaborative: To collaboratively tackle the critical and multi-faceted issues surrounding workforce development, retention, and recruiting in Clinton County and our surrounding region.

Workforce challenges are hampering employers across the country, but in Clinton County, Ohio, customized solutions focused on local needs are being developed with stakeholder input. The Clinton County Workforce Collaborative is an initiative launched a little over a year ago by the Clinton County Port Authority, OhioMeansJobs Clinton County, the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center, and the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the entities driving the initiative, the Workforce Collaborative is comprised of other business, education, nonprofit, government, and economic/community development partners. It is open to anyone from these sectors who would like to become more involved in the workforce solutions being researched and developed.

The Workforce Collaborative intends to do just what its title implies: collaborate and connect. It was formed because the founding partners knew that conversations about workforce challenges and, at times, solutions were already taking place throughout Clinton County and the region, but mostly around separate tables. The Workforce Collaborative seeks to pool resources, make them readily available, reduce duplicated efforts, and shift the conversations towards solutions and actions. 

The Workforce Collaborative seeks to very precisely identify the roots of problems. For example, are transportation barriers because someone does not have transportation, or is it that the vehicle they have is unreliable, or is it that they have been carpooling and their partner has switched jobs? It is only through breaking down the problems that tailored solutions can be implemented.

Working Groups

Through conversations with local business, education, and service agency leadership, the Workforce Collaborative created specific Working Groups for the three identified over-arching areas of focus. Members can become directly involved in identifying and prioritizing workforce challenges and implementing solutions through these Working Groups.

  1. School/Community Connections: Connecting employers and schools to bridge workforce development gaps by attracting and retaining students for the current and future workforce. 
  2. Education/Training: Identifying skill needs and assisting individuals and employers in finding appropriate training and credentialing to meet those needs.
  3. Barriers to Work: Bringing employers together to explore cooperative solutions to the challenges of workforce mobility, childcare, housing, and broadband accessibility.

Survey to Identify Challenges

Earlier this year, the Collaborative launched a survey for Clinton County employers and job seekers to identify specific needs for skills and training, childcare, transportation, and housing.

Through the survey, “power” and “tactical” skills employers are looking for were discovered. Power skills that businesses would like to see training for include communication, teamwork, personal development, management, leadership, collaboration, productivity, and wellness. Beneficial tactical skills include business intelligence, design and user experience, sales and customer experience, HR and talent development, finance and accounting, project management, and marketing.

First Step Solutions

While most of the first year has dealt with organization and identifying challenges, first-step solutions are already being implemented, such as a resource guide, student immersion to explore local employers, and a career exploration fair.

  • The newly developed School & Community Connections Resource Guide makes it easier for employers, local schools, and community agencies to identify and expand workforce development opportunities for youth and adults in Clinton County.
  • Clinton Memorial Hospital tours were conducted for area high school students this spring to expose them to the many career pathways available in the healthcare industry. They spoke with hospital leaders, visited various departments, and simulated surgery using the da Vinci Xi robot.
  • During the February Clinton County Workforce Roundtable meeting, a Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) representative encouraged employers to use both high school and college interns to build their future workforce pipelines. Businesses were also encouraged to pay interns because lack of compensation significantly limits the pool of youths who can fill those spots.
  • A Career Exploration Fair will be held on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Laurel Oaks Career Campus, 300 Oak Drive, Wilmington, OH. For more information about the Fair, contact the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.

Founding Partners

Each of the following organizations brings its own unique skill sets, networks, and outstanding personnel to the initiative and together serves as the primary steering committee leading the Workforce Collaborative.

Clinton County Port Authority

  • Acts as the lead Economic Development agency for Clinton County to attract jobs to, and retain existing jobs in, the area.
  • Owns and manages the Wilmington Air Park, an integrated aviation and logistics business park and major regional job hub.

OhioMeansJobs Clinton County

  • Supports alignment of workforce investment, education, and economic development.
  • Provides services to job seekers, youth, and businesses to increase employee retention and earnings.
  • Provides opportunities for skills advancement and post-secondary credentials.

Southern Ohio Educational Service Center

  • Serves as the lead for the Clinton County Business Advisory Council (BAC).
  • Provides resources to assist the Clinton County Workforce Collaborative in addressing the mission of the Collaborative.
  • Supports alignment with our organization’s vision of “Leading with innovative solutions for student and community success.”

Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce

  • Actively shares members’ job listings to thousands of contacts in our business and community networks.
  • Serves as an advocate for our 300+ Chamber members.
  • Sits on numerous business and advisory councils and committees.

If you would like to become involved with the Workforce Collaborative in general or through one or more of its working groups, please complete the Clinton County Workforce Collaborative Interest Form

For questions or more information, please contact Dessie Rogers, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, at dbuchanan@wccchamber.com or 937-728-7075.


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