Filling Ohio’s Skills Gaps is Vital for Small Businesses
By Rob Scott
U.S. Small Business Administration’s Great Lakes Regional Administrator, serving Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota & Wisconsin
As I’ve toured the Great Lakes Region and met with small businesses across Ohio, I’ve heard countless times about many not being able to grow (and sometimes sustain) because of their inability to find skilled workers to fill the job opportunities. Not only is this hurting the small businesses, it’s also affecting economic development.
With that in mind, the U.S. Small Business Administration has launched a competition focused on helping small businesses have the human capital pipeline they need to succeed through the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition. The goal is to assist both those entrepreneurs just starting out and those burgeoning businesses working to take their operations to the next level.
By providing a total of $1 million to help existing makerspaces create or expand job-specific and life skills training, the MaTCH competition aims to address the job placement gaps faced by U.S. businesses. Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to increase workforce development efforts. These entrepreneurial and training hubs provide new paths for vocational and technical education, build new job skills, and generate apprenticeship opportunities in new and growing maker industries.
The MaTCH competition reaffirms the SBA’s commitment to cultivating access to entrepreneurship and supporting innovation. And it will empower a stronger connection between the maker’s community and job creation, ultimately providing an added economic boost to communities across our nation and here in Ohio. Its goal is to have all MaTCH program graduates prepared for their own entrepreneurial journey or placed in positions with previously identified employers that need skilled labor.
With the evolution of our manufacturing hubs, incorporation of new technologies such as 3D printing and fabrication innovation, and creative craft, makerspaces and education are vital to our region’s vibrant economic path forward. We’ve made great strides in small business growth here and will benefit from even more makers, artisans, entrepreneurs and inventors.
Join me in helping small businesses start, grow and expand, and reinforcing the “Made in America” maker movement and share details about the MaTCH competition with your area makerspaces. More information, including the entry form – which is due July 8 – rules and requirements, can be found at www.sba.gov/match.
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