Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $15,000 contract with Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County to provide business service representation on behalf of the county’s One-Stop job training center.
The move came out of a survey conducted among the county’s employers last year. That survey showed that about 70 percent of the Ashtabula County employers who responded said they have difficulty finding qualified employees from the local labor market.
That led Commissioner Daniel Claypool, who serves on the Geauga, Ashtabula, Portage Partnership, to explore the possibility of the county having a business service representative. He said Geauga and Portage counties have someone who serves as a liaison between employers and the job training programs in those counties.
Claypool said Tuesday that GAPP members looked at freeing up money in its budget for a business service representative in Ashtabula County, but doing so would require taking money away from training services.
“That would not be appropriate,” said commission President Peggy Carlo.
Instead, the board is taking the $15,000 from the county’s economic development fund, which is funded by a portion of the real estate transfer tax.
Under the agreement approved by the board, Growth Partnership will work on a per project and as-needed basis. The services include:
- Layoff aversion: This would involve working with employers whenever “significant layoff events” are identified in the county and exploring with them alternatives to the action.
- Incumbent worker training: Identify and determine which employers would best benefit from training for incumbent workers, then work with the One-Stop to offer training subsidies.
- Current workforce development: Determine county employers’ hiring needs, then work with the One-Stop to offer assistance in meeting those needs. The service would be geared toward companies with “lean human resources departments.”
- Future workforce development: Meet with employers in order to identify the education and training requirements of positions of employment that pay a “livable family wage.” That information will be used by the One-Stop in developing its programming.
Additionally, Growth Partnership will make employers aware of special grants for training programs that could benefit them.
The agreement is March 1 to Dec. 31 . It thus leaves it to the discretion of Growth Partnership as to who will conduct the work.
Anderson was not available for comment Tuesday afternoon, but he said last month that he met with more than 100 county employers during 2011, including many who are not trustees. He said the business service representative position “falls right in line with the kinds of things Growth Partnership should be doing.”
Commissioners want to bring the county’s job training programs in line with local manufacturing’s needs, a direction that is also being called for at the state level, as well.