Special to 1812Blockhouse

Team NEO released its Talent & Equity Report today, providing key insights into challenges and opportunities the Northeast Ohio Region has as the economic development network works to build a vibrant economy. The report, informed by the Vibrant Economy Index (VEI), indicates the region has made some gains in post-secondary education and wage growth and notes the continued need to bridge the equity gap in key areas, including access to in-demand jobs for women and people of color.

“In order to have a vibrant economy, we must have a workforce that is educated and trained to fill in-demand jobs in our region; all individuals in the region must have access to the resources, education and training opportunities that are needed to succeed,” said Team NEO Vice President of Strategy, Research, and Talent Jacob Duritsky.

Team NEO’s Talent & Equity Report provides updates on the Vibrant Economy Index (VEI) launched in February 2022. The VEI is  a comprehensive measure of economic success that tracks progress in six categories (talent, equity, innovation, resilience, competitiveness, and prosperity) in the Northeast Ohio Region and in 12 peer markets across the United States. This first update focuses on the talent and equity pillars of the VEI. Notable insights include:

  • From 2018 to 2021, the Northeast Ohio Region improved our relative ranking in the attainment of bachelor’s, associate, and graduate degrees (BA+ attainment) compared to the peer markets in the VEI, moving out of the last spot (13th) to number 8.
  • Between 2018 and 2021 the Northeast Ohio Region achieved small but important growth in our 24- to 34-year demographic, a trend that will be key to reversing population decline over time.
  • From 2020 to 2021, most demographic groups experienced wage growth, with Black or African Americans experiencing 16% growth and Hispanics experiencing a 4% increase in wages, while white wage growth was 6%.
  • The Northeast Ohio Region continues to rank in the bottom third of VEI markets for broadband internet access, a crucial resource for education, training, and more.
  • Attainment of bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees by people of color is only half that of their white counterparts.
  • People of color continue to be underrepresented in jobs in the healthcare, manufacturing, and technology, top sectors in the Northeast Ohio Region.

“These insights shared in the Talent & Equity report present us with a tremendous opportunity to align economic development strategies across the network in a way that addresses the challenges we have and creates a more competitive and prosperous regional economy,” said Duritsky.

Illustrating this point, the Talent & Equity Report also provides an overview of work being done by the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, Strengthening Stark and The Fund for Our Economic Future, organizations that are focused on building a vibrant economy through talent and equity-focused strategies. The report also features Michigan Reconnect, an effort from a peer market in the VEI, as a potential best practice that could be implemented in the Northeast Ohio Region.

Team NEO will release additional VEI updates in 2023 focused on Innovation & Resilience and Competitive & Prosperous. Team NEO also offers 30-minute information sessions to companies and organizations interested in learning more about the Vibrant Economy Index.  Contact Jacob Duritsky for more information.

About Team NEO Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of the Northeast Ohio Region, which includes Richland County. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in the region’s 18-counties; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market the Northeast Ohio Region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. We do this to build a more vibrant regional economy; one that is more talented, equitable, competitive, innovative, resilient, and prosperous. For more information, visit northeastohioregion.com

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