Economy and Employment
Ohio's urban and metro communities suffer from high unemployment and underemployment as well as having an inadequate number of businesses needed for positively impacting many community economies. These communities represent approximately 75% of the population of Ohio and have many unique employment and economic needs that need to be address. The Ohio State University Extension in the City's Economy and Employment Program will assist communities to identify and implement targeted projects that address this important area. Successful projects will be measured based on the significant creation of new jobs and of new wealth-creating businesses.
Our first project is an example of an effort of the OSU Extension in the City's Economy and Employment Program and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center. We have identified that local communities want to produce, process, and market significantly more locally grown healthy fresh food for their schools and community residents. The OSU Extension in the City program will assist growing growers and local food-related value-chain business start-ups and expansions so that they are able to have major impact on urban/regional areas of employment and their economies, ultimately serving as program models for replication in other communities. We believe a state-wide networking group would greatly help support this targeted initiative by:
- Developing an on-going formal functioning state-wide supported food hub network committee
- Supporting planning and business management of local urban/regional food hub executive boards through local Extension Educators and other community technical assistance agencies
- Providing and brokering technical and system/template development services
- Supporting the development of incubator training and businesses start-up farms targeting individuals from metro areas, who are disabled, live in Appalachia, are ex-offenders, are wounded warriors, and/or are unemployed or underemployed.
- Supporting the development of a recruitment process for obtaining trainees and employees for the training programs and food hub businesses
- Providing state and national networking opportunities and options
The OSU Extension in the City's Economy and Employment Program will build a strong and diverse steering committee and continue to identify and implement targeted projects that address employment and the economy. The program steering committee will conduct activities such as needs assessment, assets identification, project identification and selections, partnership development, project implementation strategy development, etc. This committee will also continue to communicate with other OSU Extension in the City program areas to maintain a high level of synergy and mutual support for our common goals.