By Kristi Clouse, Executive Director of Operations, JobsOhio
Ohio is continuing to climb lists as a go-to place for business, and it’s not by accident.
Since 2011, there’s been an ongoing trend of Ohio achieving higher ranks in national lists that recognize the best states for business. Many of these rankings result from surveys of corporate facility investors and site consultants. Companies in Ohio benefit from a strong economy, backed by a $2 billion budget reserve, a strong credit rating and a favorable tax structure.
Ohio now holds its place as the seventh largest economy in the U.S. and the 21st largest globally. It’s not just one factor that makes Ohio a viable place for business growth, but many. And Ohio doesn’t support just one thriving industry, it supports nine.
What does this signify? It means Ohio is getting better for all types of businesses. Ohio’s well-deserved reputation as an ideal location for business is attracting companies in all industries, including those involved in information technology, logistics, data centers and eCommerce.
Location and Logistics
A central location and a diverse, world-class infrastructure marry to create a strategic logistics benefit to companies in Ohio.
Ohio is situated close to the majority of the North American market, meaning less time to and from suppliers and customers. Thanks to the Port of Cleveland, Ohio is also the only Midwest state with direct shipping to Europe.
Shipping routes point in all directions and consist of varying means of moving goods, including road, rail, water and air. Companies making or receiving shipments have options and are not limited to one form of transportation. The variety offers companies the flexibility to make decisions that favor cost reduction and increased efficiency.
Ohio’s logistics advantages are not the only benefits being noticed. In an age of customers wanting products faster and at a more affordable rate, many data, eCommerce and technology companies are coming to Ohio for its IT assets. UPS, The Home Depot, Cargill, Cardinal Health, L Brands and zulily are among the companies needing excellence in both logistics and technology.
Ohio has a rich information technology talent pipeline. At least 24 Ohio institutions have programs in data analytics, and 26 institutions have cybersecurity programs. Approximately 5,000 IT graduates are added each year to Ohio’s IT workforce, which employs about 300,000 individuals.
Data centers can be found throughout Ohio, including CyrusOne, SecureData 365, Peak 10 and, most recently, Facebook. These important hubs in technology security and functionality need to be reliable, which is why they are drawn to Ohio’s strong fiber network, offering speeds up to 100 gigabits per second. Ohio also has plenty of water, a resource necessary for cooling the systems in the data centers.
Wages and operations expenditures in Ohio are a fraction of the cost found on the East and West coasts, but companies get the same top-quality results. Moreover, Ohio is at a low risk for natural disasters. Doing business in Ohio is affordable with minimal risk of climate or technology disruption.
Unparalleled Resources to Make Ohio Home
Ohio has a strong network of local, regional and statewide organizations uniting businesses with the talent and resources they need to grow. These organizations collaborate and provide solutions unique to the needs of each company.
JobsOhio is a not-for-profit, privately funded organization at the state level dedicated to furthering job growth, new capital investment and economic development in Ohio. Through a customer-focused approach to business, JobsOhio provides companies with connections and opportunities unique to their needs and goals to continuously keep them ahead of the competition. Advised by an independent board of directors and guided by a team of knowledgeable industry experts, JobsOhio is the go-to resource for companies at every stage of the business process.
When companies are looking to expand in Ohio, JobsOhio is there to help, assisting with personalized service and program support, including SiteOhio. SiteOhio is JobsOhio’s site authentication program that helps companies find sites that are construction ready or are move-in ready.
SiteOhio goes beyond the typical certification process. It is unlike any other site selection service, as testified by site selectors. Sites go through an exhaustive review and analysis to determine their viability for companies. When they pass, they are authenticated.
The SiteOhio seal of authentication indicates that a site is ready for immediate development, guaranteeing that all utilities are on site with adequate capacities. The SiteOhio seal also ensures the site has undergone due diligence studies, is clear to build on and is free of incompatible uses, with no limitations or insurance liability based on surrounding property. Details about each site are thorough and available to companies.
SiteOhio’s authenticated sites have unique assets. Among them you can find:
- All utilities, i.e., electric, natural gas, fiber, excess sewer, excess water capacity
- Proximity to large populations, some over one million
- 40 acres to 750 acres of land
- Class I railroad connections
- Proximity to large airports
- Access to major roadways
Ohio has a goal of identifying and approving 15 to 20 sites for authentication in 2018. This marks a major milestone for the program, which is approaching only its second year.
Local economic development organizations across the state have the option to participate. There is a commitment of time and effort that must be dedicated to the collection of detailed real estate information, including the availability of utilities, physical site attributes and feasibility of construction.
In addition to personalized assistance, JobsOhio launched ZoomProspector in January 2017 to enhance information-sharing for executives and site selectors. ZoomProspector is a popular tool that gives users access to information that is easy to find, analyze, compare and store. Users can initiate their search for sites and/or existing buildings, compare cities and counties with others in Ohio and across the country, and analyze talent pool and labor force statistics in different communities.
Now, more than ever, Ohio is aware of its location assets, not only from a state level, but also from a local level. Working closely with local economic development organizations has helped bring about programs and standards that improve site selection practices and business processes.
Ohio economic development organizations already do the work so that companies do not have to tackle analyzing sites using their resources. Thorough evaluation and a seal of authentication confirm that a site is low risk, and companies can make the decision to invest without fearing red flags. Ohio’s site selection program, SiteOhio, is meant to save companies time and money while minimizing risk.
Ohio’s momentum has sent a strong message to site selectors and executives that Ohio is worth pursing for business. In 2017, JobsOhio was voted one of the top three state economic development organizations in the U.S. by Development Counsellors International. If you’re hungry to grow and ready to make it happen, you have exciting opportunities ready for you in Ohio. Visit http://jobs-ohio.com/site-selection/ to explore the details of each SiteOhio authenticated site.
Visit http://www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/ohio_ed for local economic development office directory listings.