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New Northwest Ohio Manufacturing Alliance Seeks Members

Manufacturing Alliance Northwest Ohio NOMASomething very exciting is happening in the manufacturing industry in Northwest Ohio. Something that’s never happened before. Manufacturing businesses are coming together as partners to work to solve what is arguably the biggest challenge to face the industry over the last several decades: the skilled labor shortage. Talk to just about any of the thousands of manufacturing & distribution businesses across the region and they’ll say the same thing: we can’t find qualified people to hire. Businesses have tried to deal with the issue on their own for years. Now they’re working together with other businesses to find solutions.

Area manufacturers form alliance

What's hoped to be a critical turning point in the skilled labor shortage in Northwest Ohio came in recent months when a group of manufacturers came together and formed the Northwest Ohio Manufacturing Alliance (NOMA). The alliance works with many stakeholders including educators, other workforce initiatives and economic development organizations with the goal of promoting manufacturing as a career choice.

“We know there are fulfilling manufacturing careers just waiting for young people to step into these roles,” says Lisa Wojtkowiak with Betco Corporation, one of the founding members of NOMA. “They can make a very good living, often get trained by their employers, and start out their earning careers with absolutely no student loan debt.”

NOMA works in collaboration with the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA). It is one of many sector partnerships formed in recent years through the OMA, which has an online hub for workforce services, including sector partnerships. The core counties served by NOMA in Northwest Ohio include Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Williams and Wood.

Gilmore Jasion Mahler got involved in the manufacturing workforce discussion after holding a panel discussion to address the challenge in the Spring of 2017.

“Our panel discussion really opened our eyes to just how critical this issue is to our manufacturing & distribution clients,” says GJM partner Wes Beham, who leads the firm’s Manufacturing Specialist Team. “We believe its important to stay involved and informed on this issue. If there’s any way we can help our clients and other manufacturers to solve this problem, we are all for it.”

GJM has a robust online resource for manufacturers on the workforce challenge as well. The GJM web page looks at the larger picture of how we got here and potential some ways to move the needle. The resource also offers insight from some of the people in Northwest Ohio and statewide who are working hard on behalf of manufacturers on the issue. You can also watch some video clips from the GJM panel discussion on the skilled labor shortage.

NOMA goals

NOMA ‘s founders hope the alliance is key to solving the skilled labor shortage in our region. The organization has a vision and goals identified, including to:

  • Influence educators and economic development groups
  • Be the regional voice for manufacturers
  • Enhance the image of manufacturing and career opportunities with regional manufacturers
  • Create a seamless pathway from K-12 through post-secondary education to prepare communities for the everchanging skills needed in manufacturing

Founding members include: Altenloh, Brinck & Co. US, Inc., Betco, GKN Driveline, Principle Business Enterprises, Rosenboom, Sauder Woodworking Company, Spangler Candy Company and Vehtek.

“We are off to a great start, but NOMA is so new that many business owners aren’t even aware we exist,” says Kip Winzeler with Altenloh, Brinck & Co. “We need to grow our numbers. The more businesses we have on board, the stronger we’ll be.”

There are a number of different membership levels for manufacturers. To learn more about NOMA membership, manufacturers can contact:

Lisa Wojtkowiak, Betco Coproration at lwojtkowiak@betco.com

Kip Winzeler, Altenloh, Brinck & Co. at kip.winzeler@altenloh.us

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities