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Akron to benefit from workforce development grant

AKRON — The Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) recently awarded $2.5 million through the Ohio Industry Sector Partnership Grant Program, with Greater Akron to receive two grants totaling $350,000.
The grants include $250,000 for continued support for the region’s three existing sector partnerships led by ConxusNEO, Greater Akron’s primary workforce intermediary in manufacturing, healthcare and technology; and $100,000 for workforce efforts by the Polymer Industry Cluster to create a Northeast Ohio (NEO) Polymer Industry Sector Partnership.
The funding will focus on skills training opportunities between employers, educators and new and incumbent workers in multiple in-demand industry sectors such as information technology, manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and aerospace, with an acute focus on driving equitable workforce opportunities in sought-after industries.
According to ODOD officials, the Greater Akron Chamber and ConxusNEO will work together to align these industry sector efforts to ensure Greater Akron is a place where the region’s current and developing talent gets access, awareness and preparation for opportunities that will meet the needs of employers and support their growth and success.
Officials said the ConxusNEO funds will be used to continue to support the development of quality experiential and work-based learning experiences aligned with in-demand occupations in industries including manufacturing, healthcare and technology, and to increase the talent pipeline in these industries.
Greater Akron’s Polymer Industry Cluster is an Elevate Greater Akron initiative led by the Greater Akron Chamber, 40 polymer sector employers, The University of Akron, City of Akron, Summit County, Team NEO and the GAR Foundation. The $100,000 grant will fuel cluster-wide collaborations required to strengthen a substantial and reliable pipeline of talent. Some of the activities include strengthening the industry presence in middle school education through science, technology, engineering and mathematics, creating more hands-on experiential learning opportunities for high school students, and solidifying the role of our regional universities and other higher education institutes in providing secondary education for industry needs.
“These awards from the Ohio Department of Development for ConxusNEO’s ongoing support of our region’s employers and for our region’s Polymer Industry Sector Partnership is critical to the acceleration of what we can do for both employers and the region’s talent,” said Steve Millard, Chamber president and CEO.
ConxusNEO helps generate a diverse talent pipeline by addressing real-life barriers to jobs that lead to good careers. For details, visit conxusneo.jobs.
“Our work in 2022 to update our understanding of the changes that have occurred in the workforce environment will provide direction and context for our continued sector partnership efforts,” said Michelle Collins, ConxusNEO executive director.