A new report released by The Pew Charitable Trusts ranks Ohio best in the Midwest and among the top five states in the nation for job growth in a clean energy economy. According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, the report is further evidence that Ohio is uniquely positioned to succeed in the advanced energy industry thanks to its existing strengths in manufacturing and engineering, along with its vast, skilled labor pool capable of an easy transition to fulfill the jobs of the future.
"This report further proves Ohio's dedication to technology innovation coupled with its access to a world-class supply chain and a talented, educated workforce is vital in building a strong foundation for the widespread application of advanced energy systems," said Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher. "There are many business incentive programs the state offers to companies that create new jobs, thereby creating a supportive and encouraging environment for new investment."
Based on significant research and input from experts in the field, including the advisory panel that helped guide the study, Pew developed the following definition: A clean energy economy generates jobs, businesses and investments while expanding clean energy production, increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste and pollution and conserving water and other natural resources.
The Pew study shows in 2007 Ohio ranked among the top five states with the most jobs in clean energy (3,653), energy efficiency (5,367) and environmentally friendly production (2,800). Overall, Ohio boasted a total of 35,267 clean jobs in 2007, which represents an overall job growth of 31 percent since 1998 and an average annual job growth of .85 percent each year.
Ohio's leaders are leveraging the state's key assets such as Ohio's manufacturing infrastructure, skilled workforce and advantageous location to support a growing advanced energy industry. Ohio's historic strengths in advanced design, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing combined with the state's ability to seamlessly transform these existing skill sets into those needed to compete for the jobs of the future creates the perfect environment to make the state a global leader in this rapidly growing industry. Ohio-based companies are now producing an increasing array of solar panels, wind turbines and component parts, biomass products, fuel cells, hydroelectric components, geothermal parts and storage facilities that promote better utilization of advanced energy resources and competitiveness in a global marketplace.
"Ohio has surplus automotive skilled labor and manufacturing capability that is rapidly being converted to accelerated growth of the clean energy industry and is available for clean energy companies that want a rapid start," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition. "Ohio is successfully reinventing itself as the location of choice among leading suppliers to the technologies of the future, and our state serves as a model for struggling states and cities with economies that rely on traditional manufacturing processes."
One of the most significant initiatives supporting Ohio's advanced energy industry is the Ohio Third Frontier, an unprecedented and bipartisan commitment to expand Ohio's technological strengths and promote commercialization that leads to economic prosperity throughout Ohio. Since its inception, the program has retained or created 7,700 high-paying technology jobs and has attracted more than $3.5 billion in private investment to Ohio, a 9:1 return on investment. Ohio's Third Frontier has already invested more than $100 million in advanced energy technology research and development since 2002, and is projected to provide $24 million in additional grants related to advanced energy in the coming year.
"Business leaders in the advanced energy industry are realizing how, in Ohio, they're able to successfully build a business without sacrificing their personal life," Burghard said. "Business owners profit from the bottom-line benefits of better work:life balance for their employees. Ohio offers low-cost, low stress communities in a combination of micropolitan and metropolitan cities. This diversity provides executives and employees the resources and time to make any ambition achievable. Ohio truly is the state of perfect balance."