Bridging NE Ohio’s costly job-skills gap: Pathways to Prosperity

A high school diploma wasn’t helping D’Angelo Cook live the life he wanted for himself and his two children.

Unemployed and job hunting, Cook, 26, lacked the training to land anything but low-wage jobs. Working long hours for little money, while also attending an IT training program, was a real struggle.

Ken Taylor also faces a frustration. As president of Ohio’s main dealer of Caterpillar construction equipment, he can’t find enough people with the skills and 5 to 7 years’ experience to repair machinery for customers — even when offering $60,000 to $70,000 a year salary.

“If we don’t have the technicians, we are unable to provide adequate support to the customer for the machines or the engines that they purchased from us,” said Taylor, who heads Ohio CAT. “And if we can’t provide the support, that means that the customer will suffer downtime, which is costly to their business and their customers. It translates back to us because that is revenue that we are not earning.”

The entire region’s economy faces a mismatch, or “skills gap,” between what many job seekers know and what companies need. It’s also a prosperity gap. It traps potential workers in poverty and prevents the region’s economy from moving forward. And it’s about to get worse as members of the Baby Boomer generation retire.

Click here to read Patrick O’Donnell and Oliver Perkins complete article published on the website.

About Timmothy Boettcher

Business Career Originally recruited in 1998 as a software engineer to design and develop cutting edge technology for new products, Mr. Boettcher assumed leadership for Research and Development and then Engineering before being named President of Realityworks in 2005. Responsible for total operations, he has driven significant understanding of market opportunities, gatekeepers, and funding in education, healthcare, and public service markets; bolstered production and supply chain efficiencies; acquired and launched new age technology; rebuilt leadership competencies; led growth into the Company’s over 65% US school system and over 90 country presence; and led the implementation of the Company’s ESOP to build on the societal mission of the Company and further the family oriented culture to reward employees for their success in achieving the mission and efforts to drive growth. Focused on high market growth, he has led the Company’s turnaround and achieved double-digit top line growth simultaneously with dramatic profit and cash flow improvement. Mr. Boettcher brings more than twenty years of engineering, product development, and global operations experience in education, advanced technology, manufacturing, and distribution industries. Prior to joining Realityworks, he held positions at Cray Research, a leading manufacturer of the world’s fastest supercomputers and Wal-Mart Distribution, the world’s leader in distribution and logistics. Professional & Community Activities Mr. Boettcher is passionate about building effective connections between our countries workforce development system, economic development programs, and education infrastructure. A solid connection between these systems is needed to ensure our youth and workforce are prepared to be global competitive and ready to take on the challenges and needs faced by industry. In delivering on this passion Mr. Boettcher: - has presented workforce development strategies on the national level for Harvard’s Pathway’s to Prosperity, U.S. Department of Labor, and at many Career and Technical Education events. - established and currently chairs the Industry Workforce Needs Council (IWNC), a national level group of industry leaders that works directly with education to increase support for Career and Technical Education in the country in alignment with industry needs. - served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Career and Technical Education. - chaired the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (Chair) to help establish and lead regional workforce development initiatives. - established and led the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin (Chair) to help bring critical C-level talent to start-ups and small to mid-sized companies to help them grow. - served on the Board for the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation (President). - and provides guidance to institutions like the International Business Programs Advisory Council of the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire). Mr. Boettcher also holds seven U.S. and foreign patents.

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