Where are the workers in Greater Akron? ‘Right under your nose,’ chamber president says

by | Jun 17, 2022

Emily Mills
Akron Beacon Journal

As businesses have struggled with finding enough employees, Akron-based workforce development agency ConxusNEO decided to find out where the workers have gone.

Its report — titled “Where Are the Workers?” — looks at shifts in employer and jobseeker experiences and attitudes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So where are the workers?

“They’re right under your nose. They’re in your organization,” said Greater Akron Chamber President and CEO Steve Millard, who is also on the ConxusNEO board. “You have to upskill them, and you have to give them reasons to want to stay with you for the long term.”

The work initially focused on Summit, Medina and Portage counties, partly funded by the Summit and Medina Workforce Area, but it eventually expanded into a broader regional 11-county research project, led by the Fund for Our Economic Future.

The Akron-area project included discussions with more than 250 employers and 2,400 working age adults in Greater Akron. The broader project included close to 800 employers and nearly 5,000 jobseekers.

“We think that this is…a regional issue because jobs are not necessarily confined to counties, and job seekers are not confined to counties, so understanding how it works in our broader labor market was important,” Millard said.

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