September 25, 2023
The Stark Tuscarawas Workforce Development Board has $193,750 to spend on outreach and career exploration services.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services announced the grant last week to kick off National Workforce Development Month. Nearly $4.5 million in total Business Resource Network grants will be distributed to the state’s 20 workforce development boards.“We encouraged local areas to be innovative in their proposals, and they were,” Ohio Job and Family Services Director Matt Damschroder said in a prepared statement. “One area is planning services to help businesses build a more diverse workforce. Another is creating a transportation program to help individuals reach jobs not on the bus line. We’re impressed already and can’t wait to see the results.”
JoAnn Breedlove, executive director of the Stark Tuscarawas Workforce Development Board, said the agency sought more than $500,000 but is pleased with the amount awarded. The money must be spent by June 30, 2024.
“We’re going to be using those funds in four ways here locally,” she said.
Strategic planning has been taking place to identify how to better connect and serve communities. Breedlove said the workforce board contracted with Camoin Associates for those services.
Some of the grant will fund current staff who work with businesses and job-seeking individuals, who might need assistance finding a job or receiving additional training.
“It’s helping to better provide those services, to be able to keep that person engaged and employed to do this very specific work,” Breedlove said.
A software license for ExecutivePulse will be supported as well – the data analysis software replaced another that was not available after 2022.
Breedlove said it provides easy access to data and trends, “so that we can better share that with our community, in terms of what training needs are with our training partners, our training institutions in the community.”
The last initiative, funded with $75,000 of the grant, is specific to Tuscarawas County. The goal is to create employer spotlight videos targeting students and younger residents.
Breedlove said the Stark Education Partnership already has been producing similar videos for some time, so this portion of the grant is to fill the gap in Tuscarawas. The board is working with the local Educational Service Center to arrange student focus groups and hire a video production company.
“We’ve consistently seen the opportunity and need to connect with high school talent, middle school talent so that they and their parents know what those opportunities are going to be as they enter the workforce,” she said.
Click here to read the article from The Canton Rep