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In recent news it appears 2016 is off to a running start with employment opportunities for Ohioans. As we ended last year it was apparent that 2015 was a success for Ohioans with disabilities gaining and retaining employment at a higher rate than years past. Many critics of the Employment First initiative had stated the argument that jobs are simply not available. We have seen a declining market over the past several years so even the average citizen was having a hard time finding meaningful employment, however the tides seem to be changing.

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Job Postings Hit All Time High

In an article from the Columbus Dispatch released on January 1, 2016, it states that job postings have hit an all time high. Between mid October 2015 and November 2015 there were approximately 240,000 employment opportunities. Central Ohio alone made up for almost 50,000 of those postings. The article states that some of the positions were replacement but many were new positions due to higher demand.

The employment possibilities were endless from a variety of fields needing employees. Statewide a whopping 56 percent of the job postings required a High School Diploma or GED, with 21 percent requiring a Bachelors and 12 percent requiring a higher degree or certification.  Also, more than 40 percent were reported to pay $50k annually or higher. Benjamin Johnson, spokesperson for Ohio Department of Job and Family Services stated

It shows the diversity of the economy, and it shows the diversity of employers who are hiring right now


Central Ohio to Add Jobs

In a corresponding article released from the Columbus Dispatch on January 8, 2016, Bill LaFayette is predicting a 2.2 percent increase in available jobs this year alone….

…meaning that the region should gain about 22,000 jobs.

The economist goes on to state that employment overall for Ohio is up from 2010 14 percent. In comparison the employment rate is up 10 percent for the whole United States and the employment growth is expected to be about 1.8 percent.  Job fields such as health care, professional and business industries and construction are among the employment opportunities expected to see the most growth.

It is noted that jobs are more advanced in technology so finding the right fitting candidates could be a challenge. Other areas that are stated to be a challenge are “effective communication, attention to the job, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving…”. He also adds that even though these challenges exist, the right training, assessing the employers needs and matching the abilities of the candidate are essential.

Impact on Ohioans with Disabilities

The most recent press release from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities states that an employment barrier was removed from the Ohio Hiring Management System. This work was a joint effort by the WIT (Workforce Integration Task Force). In the past as an individual completed the application process online they were asked a variety of questions regarding a valid Drivers License, if you failed to answer the questions you were prevented from submitting a completed application for State of Ohio jobs. This barrier has since been removed for individuals that were unable to obtain a Drivers License due to physical limitations or other various reasons. Director Miller stated

It is gratifying to see the work of the WIT already driving change and breaking down barriers to employment…

In Conclusion

The above articles show a great way to start 2016 on the right foot when it comes to employment opportunities for all Ohioans. I believe the numbers are encouraging with the array of fields available and requirements starting at High School diploma and above. Professionals assisting individuals gain employment should take this opportunity to view available openings and assess needs to make matches. Any Ohioan has the ability to ride this wave of increased opportunities and individuals with disabilities should not be excluded.

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