MEDINA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - Job growth in Medina County seems like a win-win situation, but businesses leaders say they don't have enough workers to fill the open positions.
The county is home to top manufacturers like Mac Industries and Atlantic Tool & Die Co. and other businesses in health care, professional services and retail.
Bethany Dentler and Kathy Breitenbucher, with the Medina County Economic Development Corporation, said as they met with businesses leaders over the last year they found a common denominator.
"What we hear by a vast majority of them is that they're having work force challenges," Dentler said. "They're very successful. They're growing very quickly, but they need people."
Dentler said there's currently more than 3,500 jobs available in the county. She said many offer a starting wage of $12 an hour, benefits and opportunities for advancement. The Medina County Economic Development Corporation said several factors are contributing to the problem.
"We have over 50 percent of people who live in Medina County leave Medina County," Dentler said. "So, part of our solution is to try and let them know about the amazing opportunities here."
Leaders have responded by launching worklocal.net to better advertise job openings.
Breitenbucher said older workers retiring and transportation issues-- getting people from larger metropolitan areas into Medina County-- are other obstacles.
The economic organization is also doing more collaborations. They're partnering with agencies looking to place clients including job and family services from various counties and Jobs for Ohio Graduates.
"I always say I'm like the person at the eighth-grade dance. They want to talk to you. This one wants to talk to you. Hey guess what? You guys can dance," Breitenbucher said.
Dentler said there's also a focus on hosting regular job expos and 'Made in Medina County Day'- an open house type of event showcasing work opportunities.
Jason Venner is the human resources manager at Clampco Products in Wadsworth. The company makes stainless steel T-Bolts Band Clamps and other products used in a variety of industries.
Venner said production space at their manufacturing plant increased last year and the company is always looking for entry-level workers.
"The order books are strong so there's opportunities as a company like us gets larger," Venner said.
Venner points to a cleaner, safer manufacturing experience today compared to past decades.
"We're still dealing with the stigma of the old time sweat shop manufacturing," Venner said.
Another obstacle affecting the workforce across the state is drug use and the opioid crisis.
Officials admit some challenges are easier to help potential workers overcome than others- but said many employers are open to making an investment.
"They understand that people have barriers in their lives, and they work with them to try and overcome those barriers," Dentler said. "They're very open to working with the court system (and) with our social services system to try and help people make a difference in their lives, because it makes a difference in their companies."
Nonetheless, Venner said at the most basic level Clampco is a believer in on the job training.
"We cross train... and after a series of checks-ins and reverse demonstrations we certify them and then they're off to the races." Venner said.