Role of JobsOhio defined at regional meetingWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Development are working together to create economic development and new jobs in the state.
Officials from the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) and JobsOhio conducted a regional meeting in Northwest Ohio on Aug. 31 to discuss Ohio’s new economic development strategy.
The meeting, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg, was one of six regional meetings the two state entities organized during the past two weeks. Officials outlined the role of the ODOD and its relationship with JobsOhio and its network partners that include the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) in Northwest Ohio.
“We need to have sustainable economic development with a positive return on investment,” said Mark Kvamme, president and interim chief investment officer for JobsOhio.
To achieve that, “We need to create a business-friendly environment in Ohio. We’re focused on economic development, working with the Department of Development and governor’s office,” he said.
“The key is to deliver the results and we expect to start seeing results in 2012,” said Christiane Schmenk, director of the ODOD and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission.
Kvamme and Schmenk agreed that a strong partnership between JobsOhio and the ODOD is required for successful economic development in Ohio. JobsOhio will operate as a private nonprofit corporation working on behalf of the State of Ohio.
JobsOhio will do the frontline economic development work but the ODOD will have oversight of the new private entity, Schmenk said.
“It pulls us all together to do what’s best for the state,” she said.
Since January, the ODOD has reduced about 500 positions to about 330 by attrition, retirement and the transfer of some jobs to JobsOhio.
Schmenk reported the DOD plans to change its name to Development Services Agency in 2012.
“JobsOhio already saved $50 million for the ODOD in 2011. We only have about 25 people on staff at present and would likely grow to about 50 by the end of this year,” Kvamme said.
Funds for JobsOhio come from profits from Ohio’s wholesale liquor business. Gov. John Kasich wants to dedicate those funds to help grow the private sector and create jobs.
The Ohio Third Frontier Commission announced funding awards Aug. 29 that included $14.8 million through the JobsOhio Network Program. RGP was awarded $2.18 million for one year of participation in that program.
Since JobsOhio formed in January, Kvamme said it has been instrumental in creating 2,500 new jobs and retaining another 7,300 jobs in Ohio that will result in more than $100 million in new payroll and additional revenue for the state. Kvamme said an announcement is forthcoming about 500 new jobs with the expansion of a distribution center in Northwest Ohio. He declined to share any additional information.
Northwest Ohio’s advantages include medical, manufacturing, solar and alternative energy and transportation with its access to the Great Lakes, Kvamme said.
JobsOhio will work with local economic development partners in the six regions. RGP will represent 19 counties in Northwest Ohio, seven more than it previously represented.
“RGP will have full access to the resources and staff at JobsOhio,” Kvamme said.
“We’ve never had that kind of relationship before,” said Dean Monske, president of RGP. “We will manage the process working with our partners in a larger region.”
RGP will work with the Northwest Ohio Regional Economic Development Association, which represents the 12 original counties in its jurisdiction and the West Central Ohio Network, which represents the seven southern counties in the new region.
Monske said RGP will operate with a smaller staff, recently reduced from 24 to seven when its Rocket Ventures fund became a joint venture with UT Enterprises Foundation. Rocket Ventures LLC staff relocated to UT’s alternative energy incubator.
Monske announced the hiring of Gary Thompson as director of JobsOhio for RGP. Thompson has served as executive director of the Oregon Economic Development Foundation since Monske left that position.
Monske also reported that RGP will hire two project managers to represent JobsOhio in Northwest Ohio and fill two administrative positions by the end of this year.