In 2022, Team NEO embarked on a new three-year strategy that includes four core pillars to drive a more competitive and prosperous Northeast Ohio Region, one that creates opportunities for all residents to work, earn good wages and thrive. One that offers an environment that supports business growth.
This report looks at our performance and the impact we are having through these four strategies:
As one of only six network partners for JobsOhio, we connect companies across the 18 counties of Northeast Ohio to state resources for job creation and retention, regional investments, and business growth.
In the first half of 2022, Team NEO, JobsOhio and the Northeast Ohio Region Economic Development Network worked with companies on 37 projects that will generate:
(through June 30, 2022)
The Kroger Co., one of the world’s largest retailers, announced the arrival of the company’s second Ohio Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC) in Oakwood Village. The new state-of-the-art facility will bring affordable, friendly, and fast fresh food delivery service to the Northeast Ohio Region. The CFC will measure 270,000 square feet and is expected to create up to 400 jobs. It’s expected to become operational 24 months after the site breaks ground (this summer/fall?) and wills service areas in northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania.
ZIN Technologies, an award-winning leader in providing advanced engineering services and product development solutions for NASA, DoD, and private industry, announced plans to add 125 new positions to the nearly 200 employees in the state.
The minority-owned business, born out of NASA Glenn Research Center, is expanding to accommodate the recent announcement that ZIN Technologies joined a founding leadership team establishing the George Washington Carver (GWC) science park in Low Earth Orbit with Nanoracks-Voyager to reside on the first ever free-flying commercial space station named Starlab.
Local, regional, and state economic development partners – including the city of Middleburg Heights, ODOD, JobsOhio, and Team NEO – worked collaboratively with ZIN Technologies to expand in their headquarters located in Middleburg Heights for this important opportunity.
Charter Next Generation is a leading manufacturer of plastic film and bags in the flexible packaging industry. The packaging business market is growing, and the company is expanding with a finishing plant to house its finishing, printing, and recycling operations. To accommodate for industry growth, the company is planning a $50 million expansion with the addition of 300 jobs in Richland county in Ontario.
Gemini Industrial Machine Group in New Philadelphia on the Tuscarawas Regional Technology Park is a full-service engineering, design and fabrication firm of custom machinery and equipment. The company recently adopted a second line of business to address rising demand for outsourced metal fabrication and processing services.
In 2021, Gemini completed a 5,000 square foot facility expansion for additional material storage and to house a new water jet with a cutting envelope of 5’ x 10’ capable of cutting a variety of products including several inch thick steel plate. To support the company’s ongoing investment, Gemini was awarded a JobsOhio Inclusion Grant, designed to assist the growth initiatives of small to medium-sized businesses in distressed communities. The project will create seven new high skill, full time jobs in Tuscarawas County.
Axuall, Inc., an innovation IT/software company providing solutions for workforce intelligence and digital credentialing in the healthcare industry, plans to grow their headquarters in the Northeast Ohio Region by adding 75 new positions.
The company is forecasting rapid adoption of its platform by healthcare systems, staffing firms, telehealth organizations, and health plans. Axuall’s data network provides insights for network planning, analytics, and reporting, while access to this data has proven to dramatically reduce onboarding and enrollment time for its recipient organizations.
We must leverage our deep supply chain and diverse industry base to drive innovation, integrate technology, develop new markets.
Team NEO facilitates the Smart Manufacturing Cluster of Northeast Ohio to provide opportunities for organizations to collaborate and take advantage of new technologies. The cluster brings together business, higher education, professional service firms, incubators and others to collectively advance the technology’s adoption rate.
In April, the Smart Manufacturing Cluster of Northeast Ohio presented the Electronic Vehicle (EV) Conference. More than 350 manufacturers and solution providers gathered at Kent State University for the conference, presented in partnership with BRITE, JobsOhio, MAGNET, JumpStart, Kent State University, Manufacturing Works, the Ohio Aerospace Institute, Team NEO, and the Youngstown Business Incubator. Leading manufacturers and industry experts facilitated discussions about how companies can engage in opportunities and with resources in the $400 billion EV supply chain.
The Smart Manufacturing Cluster of Northeast Ohio is committed to advancing the competitiveness of the region’s manufacturing community and will continue to offer a variety of programs, events, and tools to help manufacturers succeed and adapt to new technologies.
Along with our partners, Team NEO proactively engages with business leaders to drive job creation and new capital investment through business retention and expansion (BRE) efforts. These engagements uncover opportunities to help a business grow.
As of June 30, there are 140 projects in the pipeline, with the possibility of more than 16,600 new jobs with an annual payroll of more than $478 million, and $4.5 billion in capital investment.
In addition to conducting BRE calls in the region, Team NEO attends industry tech shows and conducts investment missions. With travel restrictions lifted, the team has been busy the first half of the year.
Team NEO continues to make strides to build our pipeline of competitive sites. In April, in partnership with The Fund for Our Economic Future, we released ESG to the Power of Place (ESG^P), an innovative, first-of-its-kind Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) tool that enables businesses to compare development sites across Northeast Ohio against factors related to racial equity, climate change and access to talent. It is also expected that this tool will be used by economic developers, public sector leaders and planners in improving the attractiveness of their sites and planning for new growth.
This is the first tool of its kind to provide site selection metrics that directly impact ESG strategies and initiatives, and it enables decisionmakers to include considerations of talent, equity and sustainability alongside traditional factors related to time, risk and cost.
The tool grew from findings of the 2021 Where Matters report, which demonstrated the significant variation across sample sites on ESG factors. For instance, the difference in labor shed access between five comparable sites in the report revealed a tenfold difference in the number of workers within a 30-minute car commute. This finding is especially significant in today’s tight labor market.
In May at a virtual event with more than 100 registrants, Team NEO released its latest economic research report, Untapped Opportunities, examining how the veteran talent pool can help lay the groundwork to create a vibrant economy. In addition to data insights, the report highlights resources and organizations that are working to help transition veterans into the civilian workforce. You can view a recording of the event here and watch News 5’s coverage of the report here.
Untapped Opportunities is a supplement to Team NEO’s annual Aligning Opportunities report, which provides a clear assessment of in-demand jobs, the availability of trained workers to meet demand, and a picture of what skills and training our workforce needs to fill them. Untapped Opportunities complements Team NEO’s Misaligned Opportunities report, a supplement that takes a deeper look at racial equity as it relates to labor force opportunities, and Lost Opportunities, a supplement that examines the pandemic’s economic impact on working women.
Team NEO and JobsOhio, along with regional partners, held the first Hometown Heroes Celebration Night on May 17 at Progressive Field when the Guardians played the Cincinnati Reds.
The celebration honored the men and women from Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, Camp James A. Garfield, the United States Coast Guard 9th District and all our veterans. We also celebrated the men and women from our very own NASA Glenn Research Facility and the Defense Finance and Accounting Services who help ensure Ohio remains the number one state for military and federal missions.
Team NEO created a new brand for the Northeast Ohio Region based on exhaustive research to identify our region’s most marketable and supportable strengths.
In February, we launched the Vibrant Economy Index (VEI) at our annual ED NOW! event for elected officials and economic development professionals. The VEI is a new tool that uses an expanded dataset in six categories – talented, equitable, innovative, resilient, competitive and prosperous – to offer a more detailed, nuanced and accurate measure of the Northeast Ohio Region’s economy and individual prosperity.
More than 200 attendees participated in the workshop that included lively breakouts to uncover new, data-driven takeaways to help us make businesses in our region more competitive, residents more prosperous and communities more resilient.
We heard resounding support for the direction and value of the new tool that helps inform solutions and strategies that support economic growth and address disparities in economic opportunities and outcomes.
In addition to research mentioned previously in this report for the VEI and talent work, Team NEO partnered with the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) to shine a light on the state of information technology (IT) employment in the Northeast Ohio Region, publishing two reports that offer insights about this key sector for the regional economy.
Team NEO’s May 2022 Quarterly Economic Review (QER) provided data demonstrating that occupations in IT remain resilient throughout economic downturns, as they support sectors such as professional, scientific, and technical services; headquarters; and health care.
Ashland Area Economic Development
Columbiana County Port Authority
Erie County Economic
Geauga Growth Partnership, Inc.
Greater Akron Chamber
Greater Cleveland Partnership
Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County
Huron County Development Council
Lake Development Authority
Medina County Economic
Portage Development Board
Richland Area Chamber &
Stark Economic Development Board, Inc.
Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber
Wayne Economic Development Council
This includes 37 projects that will create more than 1,600 jobs, representing more than $85 million in annual payroll and more than $200 million in capital investment. It also includes exciting new ventures with several companies including Kroger, ZIN Technologies, Charter Next Generation, Gemini Industrial Machine Group, and Axuall, Inc. – each of which are detailed in this 2022 Team NEO Performance & Impact Midyear Report.
In addition to our region’s latest projects, we expect that Intel’s new, Ohio-based, multi-billion-dollar computer chip factory, announced in January, will bring significant benefit to Northeast Ohio, as our strengths in innovation position us well to capitalize on related high-tech developments. This win demonstrates how the JobsOhio network model effectively captures opportunities that benefit all of Ohio.
For our region to realize the full benefits of these projects, we must also focus on investing in the people, companies, and communities that comprise our 18-county region in a way that creates economic vibrancy. One of Team NEO’s most significant achievements in early 2022 was the launch of our Vibrant Economy Index (VEI), which provides a detailed, nuanced, and more accurate measure of the Northeast Ohio Region’s economy, community strength, and individual prosperity across all demographics. Through this tool, we can measure our region’s progress toward the aspirational goal of creating a vibrant economy: one that has a talented, diverse workforce; is prosperous, resilient, innovative, and competitive; and offers equitable opportunities and outcomes for all.
The accomplishments highlighted in these pages are shared by our entire economic development network. They are only possible through the strong, coordinated partnerships we’ve established, together with aligned strategies that enable Northeast Ohio to take advantage of opportunities quickly and efficiently. These partnerships not only enabled our successes; they’re facilitating a robust project pipeline with 140-plus active projects and advancing strategic priorities that will lead to accelerated economic growth, job creation, and equitable access to opportunities.
Thank you for reading Team NEO’s 2022 Performance & Impact Midyear Report. We look forward to continuing this positive trajectory – and our collaborative efforts – into the rest of 2022.
CEO, Team NEO