Statewide employee data available to companies online

December 23, 2016

A web tool recently unveiled by Ohio government is meant to give employers weighing their next move the information they need about available workers.

Called the Workforce Supply Tool, the site gives employers — or any web users — information on the strength of certain key occupations in different parts of the state.

“Businesses can use specific labor market data to compare candidates statewide for strategic recruitment decisions, and policymakers can gain data-driven insights to prioritize workforce reform,” Gov. John Kasich’s office and the state Department of Job and Family Services said in a recent joint announcement with the state’s Department of Higher Education.

The idea is simple: Knowledge is power.

The tool outlines earnings per hour, the number of people employed in certain fields in certain regions, number of graduates, unemployment claims, graduating institutions and more.

The product isn’t a legislative endeavor, said State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, who also heads the Senate Subcommittee on Workforce. But it is born of a need.

“It’s something our employers can begin to use right away,” Beagle said.

“I think, practically speaking, it’s going to be focused on the small business owner, the person who doesn’t have a large HR (human resources) staff or recruiting team,” Ryan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, told this news outlet. “It’s just going to make it a little easier to … find the talent they need.”

The tool was made possible by a $180,000 National Skills Coalition State Workforce and Education Alignment Project grant, and Ohio is one of four states to benefit from the grant, Beagle said.

The tool focuses now on “in-demand” jobs like computer systems analysts, database administrators, electro-mechanical technicians, web developers and other jobs, he said.

“I think the goal is to expand that into more positions that aren’t just in-demand,” he said.

It could be expanded early in 2017 to include 200 occupations, “making regional supply pipeline forecasts predictable for employers across the state of Ohio,” said the mid-December release announcing the tool.

“The larger issue is one you hear about every day from business owners — trying to find the talent they need to grow their businesses,” Burgess said.