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Ohio Means Jobs has stayed busy to help fill industry shortages

Jobs and Family Services' executive director said after 20 years on the job, he's never seen so many openings.

LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio — We're taking a closer look at what jobs are in the highest demand right now in northwest Ohio.

It's the same fields that have seen a growing number of shortages over the years, specifically throughout the pandemic: medical industry, public safety and factory or manufacturing jobs.

For National Workforce Development Month, Jobs and Family Services in Lucas County has stayed busy with its nearly two dozen community partners by hosting job fairs and making sure the right workers are filling those vacancies. 

Right now, a lot of businesses are looking for seasonal help. Most of the time though, those are only temporary jobs. Majority of the fields needing help are looking for long-term workers.

The deputy director with Jobs and Family Services, Michael Veh, said after 20 years on the job, he's never seen so many openings. 

He explained the job market is compressed a little bit, workforce participation numbers are down a little and unemployment numbers are sitting at around the same they were before the pandemic.

"And we were in a shortage then. So, it's gotten tough to find good, solid workers," said Veh. "Quite frankly, a lot of workers who used to work two or three jobs to make ends meet are now finding one job that'll pay them enough that they don't need those other jobs. Then that creates vacancies in other areas."

Veh explained he used to say his job was done when people were no longer looking for work. Now, it's the opposite as a growing number of industries are struggling with vacancies. 

He said there's a different approach now to what work really means to some; there's less of a desire for material gain, as there is personal satisfaction. 

"I think the attitudes now are more, 'I want to enjoy what I do and I am willing to hold out for that opportunity.' Because that happiness in your day to day life is important. I don't see that as a problem," he explained. "The issue becomes you have to choose the right field to get into and you need to look at things as a career, not just a job."

Ohio Means Jobs is hosting a job fair on Friday, Sept. 30 for the public safety field, an industry Veh says people just aren't going into anymore. It's from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the new Jobs and Family Services building on Sylvania Road.

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