Workforce development encompasses project-oriented employee recruitment and training assistance, helping them attract develop, and retain the necessary talent. It also includes long-term efforts to build a pipeline of available talent to enable business growth and expansion.

The Northwest Career Ready initiative began to hit its stride in 2020, as Business Advisory Councils merged.

Started in Seneca and Sandusky Counties in 2019, this regional initiative has grown to more than 80 volunteers, encompassing 5 counties and 15 school districts. Now each district's Business Advisory Council has merged to become the Northwest Career Ready (NCR) regional council. NCR seeks to help every high school student prepare for a career through work-based learning and industry credentials. Pictured above are students in the Building Readiness After Graduation (BRAG) program, which started at Tiffin City Schools and is being rolled out to the region. High school seniors can get real experience at local companies and then work there after graduation. This is only one of the programs in development. 

The Jobs Seneca County Facebook page, promoting career opportunities, saw strong growth.

The project was launched in March of 2019, and since has gained more than 2,000 followers, posted 3,000 job notifications, and gained more than 820,000 impressions. In addition, 6 employer videos focusing on the employee experience and culture have been developed, used on the site, and distributed to schools. In 2020, videos for AFS and Roppe were completed.

In 2020, demand for services increased, and Seneca became the first county with a state-certified apprenticeship.

Seneca County became the first county in Ohio to implement a state-certified apprenticeship program, and now Grammer, Morgan and Mennel Milling all have such programs. Last year, companies also put in 163 requests for recruitment assistance, or "ob orders." with 12 companies using the service provided by Ohio Means Jobs and Seneca County Job and Family Services for the first time. In 2020, the Incumbent Worker Training grant program reimbursed more than $47,000 to employers and set aside another $25,000. Companies were also reimbursed almost $50,000 in wages, and an additional $25,000 was obligated. The Youth Work Experience program also paid $10,000 for 5 youth to work at area companies. 

Workforce Development strategic planning continues to be a focus point for stakeholders. 

The 4CG (Four County Group - Seneca, Sandusky, Ottawa, Huron) finished its state-funded workforce development strategy in 2020. The Northwest Career Ready (NCR) initiative finished its Asset Mapping Report in 2019 and worked on developing its strategic plan in 2020. 4CG focuses on adult workforce development, while NC focuses on middle and high school students.