Project Spotlight: Oh-Penn Pathways to Competitiveness


The Oh-Penn Interstate Region, with West Central Job Partnership (WCJP) acting as fiscal agent, was awarded a U.S. Department of Labor and Industry Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) Grant to support the Pathways to Competitiveness project. Project goals targeting the manufacturing industry in the five-county region of Lawrence and Mercer Counties in Pennsylvania and Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull Counties in Ohio, include but are not limited to the regional development and promotion of manufacturing career pathways and the enhancement of local workforce development efforts.

Educational Data Systems, Incorporated (EDSI) was contracted to determine the gaps between the skills and competencies needed by manufacturers and those covered in existing education and training programs. The project aligned employer skill and training needs with training provider curriculum and training programs. Proponents of industry and manufacturing have long maintained that the curriculum being offered through educational institutions needs to better fit the needs of the industry.

During this project, EDSI met with and surveyed regional manufactures, training providers and regional workforce development intermediaries to learn about the manufacturing occupations that are the most difficult to fill, better understand the challenges employers face when trying to fill open job positions with new hires, and determine the correct course of action necessary to overcome these obstacles that stand in the way of regional economic and workforce development.

In this project, EDSI made use of relevant data collected to conduct a Gap Analysis. A final report was delivered including EDSI’s recommendations to improve and align regional efforts.

Video Coverage

Interview with Ken Mall and the Business Journal Daily regarding the Oh-Penn Pathways to Competitiveness project.