Sunday, November 21, 2021

EcoMOMic Development Depends on Thanksgiving Dinner Talk About Returning Home


Call it EcoMOMic development.  Families have an extra job this Thanksgiving Dinner.  Don’t let your holiday visitors leave without talking to them about a return home.

Homesickness has a cure.  Moving home!

There are job opportunities in Licking County and Ohio that make that easier right now.  Unfilled jobs are unfulfilled economic growth potential upon which Licking County’s future depends. It’s, therefore, all our jobs to promote job opportunities.

Talk about three reasons to help family feel more ready to return.

Higher paying job opportunities are emerging.  In July, Ohio labor market reports showed Licking County manufacturing jobs grew 40%, adding over 9,300 jobs since 2010.  Those reports showed the manufacturing sector remains the largest in Licking County, with growing wages too.

Reshoring and onshoring of manufacturing are contributing to future trends.  New Albany’s Beauty Park in Western Licking County is a shining national example of where overseas manufacturing has successfully returned to U.S. shores. Statewide, JobsOhio has seen five large projects announced of products being made in Ohio, including Peloton bikes and American Nitrile gloves.

Diverse industrial development is happening.  Licking County enjoys a diversity of industry that is unparalleled.  Our job base is not dependent on one or two large employers.  The manufacturers hiring include well-known companies making a wide range of products with openings at all skill levels. Owens Corning, THK, Covestro, Lear, Hendrickson, Ariel, Samuel, Boeing, and Goodyear are among the mix.  They aren’t alone. In fact, the list hiring is too long to name them all. 

Talk about diversity.  Six plant-based food industry companies have found their way to Central Licking County making everything from baby formula and plant-based seafood to soy crisps and sterols.  Plant-based food is the fastest-growing segment of the food industry.

STEM jobs are all the rage.  One of Licking County’s largest engineering and technology skills employers, Boeing, secured an 18-year, $1.6 billion contract extension that brought news of economic stability.  Boeing anchors the Port Authority campus which saw 20+ employers combine to increase employment 13% in 2020 despite the crisis.  Sparked in part by a homesick Ohioan, Amgen recently broke ground for 400 biomedical-related jobs in Western Licking County.  There’s more to come.

I suggest talking about two actions to take.

Stop by OhioMeansJobs Licking County.  Licking County’s workforce services are a gem and a big part of why the county agency received and maintains a stand-out national accreditation.  In fact, most of the workforce customers for the one stop operation are job seekers already employed but looking to upgrade in this labor market.  Just stop by 998 E. Main Street in Newark or visit 

Seek out upskilling.  That ticket back home may be just one more credential or skill away from being a reality. C-TEC, Central Ohio Technical College, and Ohio State – Newark offer job training opportunities for job seekers.  Denison has joined in too with Denison Edge, a new approach to career-readiness offerings. is a launching pad for resources, including a cool tool for exploring career options. 

Just stick to it.  Don’t stop after the pumpkin pie.  Keep the important EcoMOMic development work going long past the holidays.  Licking County’s future depends on it!


This development column is a regular column in The Advocate.

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