Shaping Ohio’s Future Workforce: A Comprehensive Review of the Landmark Conference

Date: Thursday, Sep 21st and Friday, Sep 22nd, 2023

This year’s Shaping Ohio’s Future Workforce Conference served as a pivotal platform for workforce professionals, business leaders, and community organizers. Organized by the International Association of Workforce Professionals Ohio Chapter and the Ohio Workforce Association, the event aimed to address and reshape the complexities of Ohio’s labor force.

Opening Remarks

The event began with a continental breakfast, offering an opportunity for networking, followed by the welcome remarks from the Ohio Workforce Association. The kick-off keynote set the tone for the conference, emphasizing the significance of fostering a skilled and adaptable workforce in Ohio.

Breakout Sessions: Day 1


  • GRIT 3.0 Overview: Focused on resilience and ‘grit’ in modern workplaces, offering insights into CCMEP, ADT, and Pre-Apprenticeship programs.
  • ACT Work Ready Communities: This session revolved around business service innovations and Adult Diploma Training (ADT) to prepare communities for the workforce.
  • OMJ Center Outreach: Presented innovative Ohio Means Jobs (OMJ) center services aiming at broader community reach.


  • The Benefits of Collaboration: Highlighted the importance of business service innovations and interdepartmental coordination.
  • OMJ W.O.R.K.S. and Other Local Activities with Youth: Explored how local community-based initiatives can benefit Ohio’s youth.
  • OMJ Mobile Units: Introduced mobile units designed to take OMJ services to remote areas, hence, broadening their scope and accessibility.

Special Keynote

Karen Vadino captivated the audience with her discourse on resiliency, an apt topic given the current economic challenges.

Speed Sessions: Day 1

A rapid-fire segment covered a range of topics, from leveraging resources for businesses to understanding the opioid crisis through “Operation Better Together.”

Day 2: The Next Steps

Keynote Panel Discussion

The panel discussion on Ohio’s workforce involved key personnel, including ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder and OWA President Lisa Patt-McDaniel, providing an institutional perspective on Ohio’s workforce challenges and opportunities.

Breakout Sessions: Day 2

  • DEI Statewide Projects: Offered an essential look into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace.
  • Using Virtual Reality Innovations: Explored how VR could be integrated into workforce training.
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Hub Models: Discussed various apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship models that are transforming traditional vocational training.

Final Thoughts

The conference wrapped up with Ohio Broadband Updates and networking lunch, providing an opportunity for attendees to discuss their key takeaways and network with professionals in the field.


  1. Resilience: The importance of resiliency in modern workplaces was a recurring theme.
  2. Innovation: Technology, including VR and Artificial Intelligence, can play a significant role in shaping Ohio’s future workforce.
  3. Collaboration: Effective collaboration between various departments and services can lead to a more integrated and efficient workforce.
  4. Community Outreach: From mobile units to local activities, community outreach was identified as a pivotal aspect of a dynamic workforce.

In a world that’s rapidly changing due to technological advancements and socio-economic challenges, Ohio’s Future Workforce Conference stands as a beacon, directing the state towards a future built on resilience, innovation, and inclusive growth.

Register Here