JOBS: Officials discuss workforce challenges in Springfield


Springfield and Clark County have made recent strides to attract new jobs and are now discussing opportunities to provide better training and opportunities to attract workers.

County and city officials met publicly this week for the second time this year to discuss the biggest challenges facing Clark County, said Warren Copeland, Springfield’s mayor. A similar meeting earlier this year included discussions of the region’s opioid crisis.

RELATED: Japanese firms provide economic boost in Clark, Champaign Counties

Companies like Silfex and Topre America Corp. have pledged to create hundreds of new jobs in the next few years. Copeland said the next challenge is to make sure local companies are able to find and retain skilled workers. Springfield also needs to find ways to make sure those employees live in Clark County, he said at Monday’s meeting.

“The question is what have we got to offer to get those people to move from where they live now to the Springfield community,” Copeland said.

Cities across Ohio are facing the same challenge, said Rick Lohnes, Clark County commissioner.

“We have some things here in the county we need to fix,” Lohnes said. “We need more housing and there’s always the problem with finding a trained and skilled workforce.”

MORE BUSINESS NEWS: Mercy rolls out high-tech medical scrubs in Springfield, other sites

Silfex, based in Eaton, has pledged to invest about $223 million in Springfield and recently purchased the former Thirty-One Gifts plant near the PrimeOhio Industrial Park for $11 million. The company is a high-tech manufacturing firm that provides silicon products for a variety of markets. Silfex has pledged to create about 400 new jobs by 2020, said Don York, the plant manager for the new Springfield site.

MORE: Springfield surgeon pushes for sodium info on restaurant menus

In the meantime, the company has hosted several job fairs as hiring has ramped up. He said local companies are increasingly competing for the same pool of workers. The company has worked with OhioMeansJobs Clark County and the Chamber of Great Springfield to try to identify skilled workers.

“There’s a lot of pricing pressure in the marketplace for wages and we’re seeing that go up,” York said. “Over the past 12 to 24 months there’s been rising price pressure caused by competition but also the unemployment rate.”

State data shows Clark County’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly in July, while remaining flat in Champaign County.

Clark County’s unemployment rate was 5.3 percent last month, compared to 5.2 percent in June, according to information from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Ohio’s unemployment rate also crept up to 4.6 in July, up slightly from 4.5 percent in June.

DETAILS: CFA board to study similar boards statewide

The county and city are in a better place than they were just a few years ago, said Michael McDorman, president and CEO of the Chamber of Greater Springfield. But he said the next challenge will be to make Springfield an attractive option so workers will consider moving from other communities.

“We have a lot of momentum bringing jobs to our community and investments that are going to move us forward,” McDorman said. “However, with that comes the challenges of housing and building a vibrant community where we can not only retain the talent we have but also attract new talent to the community.”

City officials are working with Dayton-based DDC Management to develop more than 200 new homes on a roughly 53-acre property near Walmart’s Tuttle Road location. However, officials in Springfield Twp. and the Clark-Shawnee School district have raised concerns over how the development would be financed.

“We need to have a lot of different options,” Copeland said of attracting new workers. “A piece of what we’re doing as a city is working with a developer to build some new housing out near Silfex and the PrimeOhio companies so people can buy a house there.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

'Don't cry, daddy. I love you': New families celebrate National Adoption Day
'Don't cry, daddy. I love you': New families celebrate National Adoption Day

It was a very special day for dozens of Massachusetts families as 136 children in foster care got their forever homes. Three-year-old Josiah was one of 26 children with finalized adoptions in Boston as a part of National Adoption Day.  "Today we are adopting Josiah! After six months, he was going to move. And I looked at him, and I said....
Man who raped dying teen sentenced to less than 3 years in prison 
Man who raped dying teen sentenced to less than 3 years in prison 

The man who raped a high school student who later died from a drug overdose was sentenced to less than three years in prison. Superior Court Judge Linda Krese said that Brian Varela could not be sentenced to more than two years and 10 months because it was the most prison time permitted for someone with no prior criminal record, The Daily Herald reported...
Springfield Promise Neighborhood gives away 150 thanksgiving meals
Springfield Promise Neighborhood gives away 150 thanksgiving meals

Springfield Promise Neighborhood, a non-profit, gave away 150 thanksgiving meals Friday. Five schools were picked to give away the meals, and each school chose 30 families. Aldi provided turkey, traditional sides and dessert, and volunteers from Aldi passed out the meals. “We just wanted to show appreciation both to Aldi to be able to do that...
Court docs: Woman who abandoned 3 dogs with mange, fleas said they were strays
Court docs: Woman who abandoned 3 dogs with mange, fleas said they were strays

A New Carlisle woman was in court Friday accused of abandoning three dogs, and lying about it. Patricia A. Sharp, 49, identified three female dogs as strays when she brought them on Oct. 30 to the Clark County Dog Shelter. The dogs, described as a shar-pei mix, Labrador retriever mix and pit mix, all had a severe skin infection, mange, and were infested...
Baby born in toilet of public restroom at Sea-Tac International Airport
Baby born in toilet of public restroom at Sea-Tac International Airport

A baby born earlier this week will have quite a story to tell of how he came into the world, in a place you may least expect.  Wyatt Dale was born in the toilet of a public restroom at Sea-Tac International Airport. His parents, Heather and Billy Gibbs, were about to board a flight on Tuesday night to head home to Kentucky. That’s when Heather...
More Stories