Team NEO, the region’s nonprofit business-attraction group, is aiming to become a regional representative for the new JobsOhio program of Gov. John Kasich.
Team NEO, formed in 2003 by area chambers of commerce, is among six regional economic development organizations that would serve as regional offices for JobsOhio.
JobsOhio is the statewide job creation effort whose funding will be through the state’s liquor profits.
Tom Waltermire, CEO of Team NEO, said the regional JobsOhio offices – collectively dubbed the JobsOhio Network – would not simply be new packaging of the state’s old setup.
He said Thursday that the offices would assume – and expand on – the job-creation and retention duties of the 12 regional economic development directors. These positions – created under prior gubernatorial administrations – are being phased out.
“Those [regional directors] individuals – while they’re good people – they were essentially lone rangers in their territories,” Waltermire said.
Staffers at the Northeast Ohio regional JobsOhio office “will be linked to much more of a support infrastructure,” he said, when trying to put together financial incentives to present to companies.
The new JobsOhio regional staffers, Waltermire said, will have easy access to not only Team NEO’s expertise, but also to that of other organizations that work with Team NEO. Those include BioEnterprise, which works to grow the state’s biomedical industry.
Team NEO, which serves an 18-county region, including Summit, Stark, Medina, Portage and Wayne counties, is headquartered in Cleveland. Waltermire said he doesn’t know yet where the JobsOhio regional workers would be based. He said the goal is to have them “out in the field.”
Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told the publication Crain’s Cleveland Business in June that the regional JobsOhio offices initially would be able to offer businesses grants from the state’s Third Frontier program.
Nichols told Crain’s that some incentives, such as the state job creation tax credit, would continue to require state approval.
Waltermire said Team NEO submitted a formal proposal concerning the regional JobsOhio office Thursday. Team NEO is not competing with another group for the office; rather, the proposal is part of a vetting process.
Beacon Journal business writer Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.