- Recent Awards
- Information Technology Pathways through a Flexible Apprenticeship Model
- Industry Demand & Engagement
Industry Demand & Engagement
The information technology industry is expansive and growing in the Central Ohio Region. Technology is a key industrial sector in the region. The area’s technology presence is also highly diversified and cross-industry, with representation in data centers, financial tech, healthcare tech, and e-commerce. Major tech companies are building presence in Columbus; a Facebook data center will be moving in next to Amazon operations.
The IT Industry
The information technology sector is transforming under the influence of emerging technology. Technicians must be able to demonstrate sophisticated skills. As a result, colleges and universities must prepare curriculum that provides individuals with foundational science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) knowledge, balanced in combination with specific technology competencies.
According to Columbus 2020—the region’s economic development agency—Central Ohio hosts more than 2,100 technology-focused businesses employing nearly 60,000 individuals. Columbus was ranked the third-best city statewide for technology job prospects and is the eighth-fastest growing technology job market in the United States. Major sector employers in the region include JPMorgan Chase, Verizon Communications, Cardinal Health, Battelle, IBM, AT&T, and Fiserv Inc. The state’s workforce-development agency, JobsOhio, has specifically identified information technology as a high-growth industry.
Due to the employment growth in this sector, the regions needs more students entering and completing pathways in IT and computer science. There are not enough skilled graduates entering the workforce to meet the current demand. According to Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), there are a little over 800 completions in computer and information science and support services academic programs each year. More than half of these are distance-education completions, meaning there is no guarantee these graduates are living or working in the Central Ohio area. Conversely, there are over 8,000 unique job postings seeking employees with these skills each year.
Prospects across the 11-county Central Ohio region are bright for well-educated IT and cloud professionals and related specialists. With a growing need for a versatile, technologically skilled workforce comes the need for a curriculum that combines foundational STEM knowledge with specific, advanced technological training. By 2027, Central Ohio employers in retail, healthcare, logistics, banking, government, and other industries will need 3,100 additional IT technicians (an 8 percent growth rate) who will earn wages averaging $38.95 per hour (EMSI, 2018).
Central Ohio Workforce Advisory Council
In 2017, Columbus State formed the Central Ohio Workforce Advisory Council, a team of senior human resources and talent professionals from leading employers. Convened by Columbus State President David Harrison, the group has adopted a regional approach to leveraging resources and bringing successful programs to scale. They are currently working on an employer-driven regional IT strategy to build a highly skilled talent pool. Representatives from Gov. John Kasich’s Office of Workforce Transformation, Columbus 2020 and the Ohio Department of Higher Education will attend a summit and provide an update on current and future demographic trends and its impact on the region.
One of the primary strategies to address regional IT demand is the expansion of the IT flexible apprenticeship. In May 2018, the Workforce Advisory Council codified this initiative with major employers committing to the launch including JPMorgan Chase, Honda, Huntington Bank, Nationwide Financial Services, State Auto Insurance, Accenture, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.