Federal and state employment projections show that the most promising professions for jobs are in the service, retail and health care industries.
But local economic development officials say diversifying in other sectors such as manufacturing, defense and distribution is key to true economic and employment success.
The top five professions nationally are registered nurses, retail salespersons, home health aides, personal care aides and office clerks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections of largest employment growth through 2020 released last month.
Registered nurses make about $28 an hour, according to state wage rates, but most of the others are lower-wage service jobs that range from $10 an hour for home health aides to more than $13 for office clerks.
“We want to look at the overall economic development strategy,” said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. “We’re growing jobs but also growing across clusters and sectors in the economy that we have core strengths in.”
Besides the nationally projected areas of growth, Hobbs said higher-wage jobs in advanced manufacturing and aerospace engineering should be a focus. He also said there is room for growth in the food and distribution industries locally.
“Some growth is in the professional services industry that may be a little low on that pay range, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important (industries) to getting families back to work in this community,” he said.
The largest industry with job vacancies is in the health care sector, primarily for nurses and aides.
“Clark County really is an aging county,” said Lehan Peters, deputy director of Job and Family Services of Clark County and WorkPlus OneStop Center. “There’s going to be a huge need for home health care and nurses.”
The number of home health aides will grow from around 1 million in 2010 to 1.7 million by 2020, according to labor statistics. Personal care aides, which is in a different category but a similar profession, will grow from 861,000 workers in 2010 to almost 1.5 million by 2020.
These personal care aides and home health aides are also the top two occupations with the fasted projected growth — growing 70.5 percent to 69.4 percent respectively from 2010 to 2020, according to labor statistics.
Comfort Keepers, which started in Springfield in 1998, is now recognized as one of the top in the country in amount of hiring with more than 600 franchises. The business focuses on personal home care, including companionship, errands and cleaning.
Locally, the company continues to grow.
“We are actually doubling our training and having it twice a month just because we’re hiring additional caregivers,” said Lisa Hube-Grimes, vice president of sales and marketing for Comfort Keepers.
“We currently have between 90 to 100 employees in the Springfield area and employ more than 350 employees in the Miami Valley,” she said. “In Springfield, many of our part-time caregivers have increased to full time, and we continue to hire quality caregivers.”
Hube-Grimes said the company will hire 20 new caregivers a month in the area.
Home Health Care at Black Stone is constantly hiring home health aides locally. The business has several locations in southwest and central Ohio.
“The majority of our clients are in their 80s, so we’re not seeing baby boomers affecting us yet, but we’re looking at that down the road,” said Jenny Sand, home office administrator at the Springfield office. “In addition Gov. (John) Kasich made a commitment of increasing home and community based services, which is what we do.”
The demand for Black Stone’s home health services are so high the business has opened one new location in Eaton.
“Because there’s a need out there, we are constantly looking for folks,” Sand said.
She said the company has worked with Miami University about hiring and retaining aides.
“There are multiple initiatives out there to make more opportunities for aides. What kind of training they need is a big topic,” she said.
The greatest need is for registered nurses. There will be 711,000 more nurses in 2020 according to labor statistics. There will be nearly 3.5 million registered nurses nationally in 2020, compared to 2.7 million in 2010.
Community Mercy Health Partners — which runs Springfield Regional Medical Center, Urbana’s Mercy Memorial Hospital and a number of cancer, imaging and senior care facilities — constantly hires nurses, officials said. More than 50 listings for RN positions have been posted on CMHP’s careers website in 2012.
While the aging population provides some opportunities for employment growth in certain fields, it also provides a number of vacancies. Peters said that while seniors are retiring later, she anticipates a large number of vacancies in various fields when the baby boomer generation retires.
“We’re trying to (identify) what are the demands for occupations as we see people coming through,” Peters said. “We have openings in manufacturing, but skilled manufacturers such as welders CNC operators and those particicular skill sets.”
The service industry continues to grow. Nationally, the number of office clerks is supposed to grow almost 490,000 workers from 2010 to 2020, a growth of 16 percent.
Peters verified the growth in office type jobs, but she said she sees it in the call center sector more than in clerking administrative duties.
“Most of the jobs we’re filling are not general administration, but it’s more of your professional business services in a call center climate,” Peters said. “A lot is in the insurance industry. We’re projecting insurance and business office growth. Over the course of three to six years, we have hopes of attracting at least another 1,000 jobs.”
Another growth area is in retail sales. Nationally, retail sales will see a growth of 706,000 workers from about 4.2 million workers to nearly 5 million workers from 2010 to 2020.
Most recently Springfield has seen employment growth at Dunham’s Sports on Upper Valley Pike and Family Dollar, both of which have opened in the last year. Smaller, local retail stores such as Dollar Days, Itsy Fits and Running with Scissors have all opened downtown as well.
Family Dollar, which opened a store on Selma Road in August, typically employs eight to 10 employees per store and has been opening more stores across the country, said Bryn Winburn, Family Dollar’s corporate public relations manager.
Local administrators think retail jobs will grow once the city further develops downtown and diversifies the economic base.
“If we build it, they will come,” Peters said, noting the new Springfield Regional Medical Center and the Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital both build downtown.
“We have two new hospitals open, so we’ll see small stores cropping up and opening up,” she said. “As we develop the downtown area and core block, we’ll see more in food industry and retail.”
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