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April 28, 2014

Each year a survey of corporate executives and location consultants is conducted by Area Development magazine, a good partner to the Columbus Region. A few insights from this year’s survey confirm that our region is working on the right things and that there is more work to do. A few takeaways follow:

First, you will see that two of the top three factors companies consider when selecting locations involve human capital. In fact, the availability of skilled labor is ranked No. 1 among corporate executives and locations consultants alike – now a greater concern than cost of labor, which was ranked No. 3. There is a skills gap that is particularly noticeable in manufacturing, as an aging workforce and lack of interest in manufacturing careers contributes to the issue.

Location proximity to tech schools and universities is cited as an important driver of a quality workforce. We’re fortunate in the Columbus Region to be home to more than 60 higher education campuses and dozens of career-training schools.

Related to obtaining a workforce, certain quality of life factors are rising in importance. As the economy improves, focus is greater on life outside the workplace. In study after study is it shown that our workforce’s youngest generations value community and quality of place – trends that are being closely observed by companies and location consultants.

Access to highways also remains a critical factor, as companies place high emphasis on efficiently moving goods and people. U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx’s recent visit to Columbus highlighted the pressing need for investment in our country’s basic infrastructure. As a major inland port and hub of global logistics operations, the Columbus Region has a great deal to gain from investments in Central Ohio and around the United States.

Finally, the survey seems to indicate that business leaders are optimistic. Very few decreased facilities, and nearly a third increased their number of facilities. Half of those did so in response to increased sales, services or production, or to provide better access to new or existing markets.

Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • It is another big week for our region. On Wednesday we will launch Columbus Global Connect and discuss the export strategy for the 11-county Columbus Region during the Columbus Metropolitan Club Forum . For the past 18 months our region has been working with state and local partners to assess our market dynamics and potential. The number of companies doing business around the world from the Columbus Region is impressive, but it could be even better. We look forward to executing this long-term strategy that will lead to more good jobs and increased global connectivity for the Columbus Region.
  • Our team is also attending the Industrial Asset Management Council meeting in North Carolina this week, and is preparing for its upcoming trip to Japan in a few short weeks.
  • JPMorgan Chase has awarded a $2.5 million grant to Central Ohio Compact for the Innovation Generation initiative, which exposes educators, parents and middle and high school age children to career pathway options. Learn how you can play an important role in the program’s success.
  • The 2013 One Columbus annual report is available online and hard copies are available upon request.
  • Congratulations to the Columbus Chamber, celebrating 130 years of accelerating businesses in the Columbus Region.
  • This Saturday, Experience Columbus encourages residents to share an image that shows your true Columbus life. Use #LifeInCbus to join the movement.