Emsi Case Study (Full Archive)
Accurate, timely, customizable data across the entire network of state and regional economic development organizations in Ohio. That is the chief benefit that Matt Waldo, Senior Manager of Research at JobsOhio, sees in Analyst.
Created in 2011, JobsOhio is a uniquely structured private, non-profit organization that runs on the proceeds from the state liquor enterprise—a stable funding source that allows it to make longer-term commitments than most economic development organizations. From its central office in Columbus, JobsOhio works through and alongside its six-region network of economic development organizations across Ohio (see map) to provide workforce data to regional and international businesses.
Waldo noted that according to an annual survey conducted by Area Development Magazine, it’s the character of the local workforce (such as availability, cost, demographics) that is one of the top factors in site location decisions for businesses looking to start up, relocate, or expand. But gleaning the necessary data—including supply chain analysis—from the government sources can be a challenge. Suppressed and scattered across dozens of sources, the government data simply isn’t that easy for JobsOhio to find and deliver, especially within the time windows demanded by its clients.
Analyst Used on Routine and Strategic Levels
Analyst has helped change that. Since purchasing Analyst in 2013, JobsOhio has discovered that not only is it a huge time-saver, consolidating dozens of government datasets into one location, but even more importantly, it features granular, unsuppressed data that JobsOhio would not be able to access elsewhere. “It has become a key tool of our toolkit in responding to our clients,” Waldo said.
Analyst is also more customizable than the government sources, a strength Waldo particularly highlighted. “This is how the world works,” he said. “In economic development projects, the clients want to know the characteristics of a given labor shed within a certain drive time from a group of locations that they’ve identified as possible choices for the prospective facility. The standard government sources don’t currently lend themselves well to custom geographic analysis. So that’s a key value-add of Analyst.”
At the routine level, JobsOhio uses Analyst to provide real-time responses for data requests from organizations both regional and abroad. For example, a parts supplier to a large automotive assembly operation recently had a very specific need: the wage rates of a staffing pattern for multiple occupations within a custom drive time. Using Analyst, JobsOhio provided the client with data that was more accurate and, coincidentally, also more competitive and favorable than the data from the government source.
On the more strategic level, JobsOhio uses Analyst to determine regional and state-wide workforce strengths—and how to maximize those strengths. It also works with (in many cases, local) economic development officials to help them better understand their challenges, and to encourage them to work with their regional workforce development practitioners. “In economic development, we are tasked with both,” Waldo said, “but the majority of our work is finding our strengths and figuring out how to maximize those assets…. Analyst is one of our major tools for analysis of the whole landscape of workforce assets that we analyze and report to our clients.”
A Nexus of Analyst Users
But JobsOhio has gone beyond using Analyst within its own walls. By procuring Analyst across its six regional economic development network offices (with an arrangement allowing JobsOhio to offset a portion of the cost for each of the offices), JobsOhio has produced a unique nexus of economic development professionals with access to the same granular, customizable data.
Several of the other organizations have been using Analyst for a number of years, such as Dayton Development Coalition (see our “Emsi for Economic Developers” series with DDC), but just as many have not. In fact, Waldo said, there are two regions that have never even seen the output, so JobsOhio has set about ensuring that they understand the tool’s benefits. And to top it all off, JobsOhio also helped set up the recent training event in Columbus so that economic developers from its network could become more comfortable with labor market data.
“By acquiring Analyst across each of our regional partners,” Waldo said, “we’re able to convey to our clients that we have a consistent approach to generating accurate and timely workforce data. I think that is pretty unique, nationally. There aren’t many states where you have that level of coordination among native sources. The key headline here is data consistency no matter where businesses look to locate in Ohio.”
JobsOhio is a private, non-profit corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention, and expansion efforts. In 2013, JobsOhio worked with 258 companies that committed to investing $3.6 billion and 88,306 jobs in Ohio. Find out more about JobsOhio at www.jobs-ohio.com.
Emsi turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work. Using sound economic principles and good data, we build user-friendly services that help educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers (such as WIBs, EDOs, chambers, utilities) build a better workforce and improve the economic conditions in their regions. For more information, email Josh Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.economicmodeling.com.