SOPA, JEDISO to examine workforce

By Wayne Allen - [email protected]

At a recent Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) Board of Directors meeting, Executive Director Jason Kester said JEDISO (Joint Economic Development Initiative of southern Ohio) and SOPA will be commissioning a local and regional workforce study.

“There are a bunch of different workforce metrics. We’ve met with like ten different groups of people and everybody’s tracking different things, with no consolidated report,” Kester said.

Wood products, petrochemicals and primary metals have been identified as key target industries for the Haver Hill and Portsmouth areas.

The workforce study will be looking at the area workforce for the target industries.

Part of Kesters family lives in Columbus and he will often times drive to Columbus over the weekend or for an evening.

“A lot of times when I’m coming down on a Monday morning, it looks like the autobahn going north out of Scioto County. We need to start figuring out who’s leaving to go to work and trying to capture (employ) those people here,” Kester said. “Maybe we’ve got 500 plumbers and pipefitters or maybe there are 400 accountants, I don’t know. We want to capture what that inflow and outflow looks like.”

He said once the data is available SOPA would like to see if there is any useful data and see if there is anything that could be marketed to potential employers.

“If we have all of these accountants leaving the community, so bring your financial services here. If we have 400 plumbers and pipefitters driving to Columbus every day, if we get some kind of petrochemical plant, we can say ‘you could employ that workforce at your plant and they will stay here, because they don’t want to drive to Columbus everyday for work,” Kester said.

The SOPA workforce analysis will include a radius of 60 miles.

“The workforce in Haver Hill is different than the workforce in Portsmouth. You get more of the tri-state area in Haver Hill and you get Piketon and Chillicothe in Portsmouth,” Kester said.

He said JEDISO’s workforce analysis will be on the four county region (Scioto, Jackson, Pike and Ross County). The SOPA analysis will dig a little bit deeper in the Haver Hill and Portsmouth area.

The anticipated the workforce analysis will be completed in the next 30-60 days.

For more information about SOPA visit

By Wayne Allen

[email protected]

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT

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