CINCINNATI — Nov. 17, 2021 — The SkillUp Coalition, a national collaboration among nonprofits, training providers and employers, today announced the launch of LevelUp GRIT Ohio, a partnership aimed at educating the local community on growing industries and directly connecting workers to training and career resources available in the local area. In partnership with The GRIT Project and Future Plans, LevelUp GRIT Ohio aims to provide career navigation services, training programs, and job opportunities to help workers secure high-growth careers throughout Southern Ohio. This partnership, with support from pro quarterback Joe Burrow, is funded through the State of Ohio.

“When I initially envisioned the idea for the GRIT Project in 2018, my hope was to find new opportunities through collaboration to build economic recovery and strength for our community. The LevelUp GRIT Ohio launch is one more piece of this vision. By building in-demand skills, our community can enter or re-enter the workforce in a new way,” said Randy Chandler, GE Aviation Engineer and community volunteer involved with the Adams County Drug Coalition, Southern State Community College Board and many other organizations.

“Southern Ohioans are tough, gritty and do whatever it takes when others might not — they’re the hardest working people in the country,” said Joe Burrow, pro quarterback and Athens, Ohio native. “There are tens of thousands of high-growth jobs open across Appalachian Ohio right now, many of which can be accessed through affordable, short term training programs that SkillUp has identified. I’m excited to shine a light on these new opportunities for my fellow Ohioans; they helped me level up in my career and I want to see the same for them.”

As unemployment rates in Ohio still struggle to return to pre-pandemic levels, the SkillUp Coalition was designed specifically for crises like these, working with local organizations around the country to create new pathways to economic mobility for the millions of Americans whose livelihoods are still being affected by the pandemic.

“The Southern Ohio community is a vital part of the Buckeye State and we are honored to partner with local organizations who are dedicated to revitalizing local economies in the post-pandemic era,” said Elissa Salas, vice president of partnerships and operations at SkillUp. “As we look to the jobs of the future, we are confident that Ohio will be a leading force in upskilling and reskilling its workers as a result of this partnership.”

With deep labor market analysis, viable job identification and training provider recommendations from Jobs for the Future, LevelUp GRIT Ohio helps workers select and prepare for career paths that align with the economy of the future by targeting sectors that are expected to grow significantly in the coming years such as health care, technology, skilled trades, and logistics. LevelUp GRIT Ohio uses a four-part approach:

  • Career navigation: No-cost, technology-enabled assessments and coaches guide workers in choosing a career path aligned with rapidly changing labor market needs.
    Training programs: Access to local and national education and training programs that match workers’ career goals.
  • Job opportunities: Matched to workers’ career aspirations and regional and local labor market demand.
  • Coaching and financial support: Resources to help workers navigate the financial and emotional challenges that often prevent them from completing their training and finding work. Specifically, the SkillUp Together Fund offers $1,000 grants to workers seeking to upskill with select training partners.

Crystal Keaton, Workforce Development Board Director for Adams, Brown, Pike & Scioto Counties adds, “Our local Ohio-Means-Jobs Centers welcome resources like SkillUp Coalition and LevelUP GRIT Ohio that can build employable skills. We are committed to partnering with organizations to assist individuals move into living-wage employment opportunities and up the pay scale.”

In an effort to help reach as many workers across the region as possible, earlier this summer, Joe Burrow sat down with SkillUp to talk about how growing up in Southeast Ohio shaped his work ethic, the life lessons that have helped him excel in his career and his enduring belief in the talents and grit of the workers of Southern Ohio. A PSA and several promotional videos he recorded will roll out in the weeks ahead and can be viewed here.

About the SkillUp Coalition

Founded in July 2020, SkillUp Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit helping displaced workers develop the knowledge, confidence, skills, and training to land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries. The coalition brings together over 60 leading organizations including training and education providers, technology developers, policymakers, employers, and philanthropies. The SkillUp ecosystem provides career navigation, training & employer connections, career coaching, and financial support to build a more inclusive economy for all workers. In addition to its national reach, SkillUp operates LevelUp local partnerships in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Florida, Louisiana, Northern Nevada, Philadelphia, New York City and now, Ohio.

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