JobsOhio offers a new model of economic development for our state. Its work with the Regional Growth Partnership is bringing particular benefits to northwest Ohio.
Gov. John Kasich’s administration formed JobsOhio in 2011 to drive economic growth and job creation throughout the state. Ohio’s six major metropolitan areas, including Toledo, are represented in the JobsOhio Network, a partnership of development professionals with the local contacts and expertise to provide timely and meaningful help to companies. The Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) is the network partner in northwest Ohio.
Approaching companies with a “one firm — one state” policy is a shift from how Ohio used to conduct its economic development efforts. State, regional, and local partners work together to deliver all of Ohio’s resources to businesses.
In just two years, this new approach has helped to jump-start our economic recovery. This new, relationship-oriented model is paying dividends in retention of existing companies and attraction of new ones to northwest Ohio and the rest of the state.
In our 17-county region of northwest Ohio, RGP provides expertise in business development, project and incentive management, sales and marketing, coordination of a regional retention program, and administrative resources. This expanded role for RGP benefits both our clients and the region.
The new model delivers faster response times for companies on issues related to state government, provides in-depth knowledge of local assets, and offers stronger regional advocacy in Columbus. JobsOhio staff, working locally under the RGP umbrella, drive all of these benefits.
The project management team at RGP is fully staffed, trained, and in the field, following processes and procedures established by JobsOhio to ensure that our economic delivery system moves at the speed of business. Last year, the RGP/JobsOhio team was directly involved in 37 projects that resulted in creation and retention of about 6,000 jobs, and accounted for more than $340 million in capital investment.
Among them: a $42.4 million expansion plan to keep Libbey’s corporate headquarters in Toledo, a $44.3 million expansion project by Cooper Tire and Rubber in Findlay that created 40 jobs, and a $10 million expansion project by Johnson Controls in Northwood that created 86 jobs. Across the region, 88 announced projects created and retained nearly 12,000 jobs and resulted in more than $1.7 billion in capital investment.
Also last year, RGP/JobsOhio launched the first regionally coordinated business retention program in northwest Ohio, in partnership with local economic development agencies. Local and RGP staff regularly visit key businesses in the region, to determine their state of operations and assess future opportunities for the company to make additional investments here.
The visits also provide an opportunity for companies to address challenging issues and provide direct input on state economic policy. In the past year, RGP and its partners visited more than 500 companies.
Statewide, JobsOhio reported strong results in 2012. It worked with state and regional partners to help 289 companies create or retain more than 75,000 jobs, with capital investment exceeding $5.8 billion.
This year, JobsOhio built a dedicated and stable funding stream by securing the transfer of the state liquor enterprise. This source of funding will allow the organization to carry out its mission of leading economic development and job growth.
The RGP/JobsOhio team, committed to the growth of northwest Ohio, is taking an aggressive approach to connecting directly with our targeted audiences. We anticipate a significant increase in project opportunities, this year and beyond.
Gary Thompson is vice president of the Regional Growth Partnership and northwest Ohio regional director of JobsOhio.