The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will consolidate facilities by shutting down 13 of its 28 state offices and transferring 570 employees to other locations.
“By consolidating offices we will save taxpayers $2 million a year without making staffing changes and without impacting services to our clients,” said Benjamin Johnson, public relations director at ODJFS in Columbus. “These buildings were chosen first and foremost because they have high vacancy rates. At these 13 locations we are renting office space we don’t need and are not using.”
The nearest state facility affected is the Canton office at 402 Second St. SE, which has 89 employees. Some will be transferred to Akron, which has 41 employees, and the others will be transferred to the Youngstown office, which has 53 employees.
“The Canton office is 34 percent vacant. Some of these [other offices closing] are more than 50 percent vacant,” Johnson said. “When we consolidate down, the vacancy rate at our new locations will all be under 10 percent, and in most cases under 5 percent.”
The work will begin this spring and be completed by the end of the year.
Johnson said all of the offices closing are state offices and are not county departments of Job and Family Services or any of the county-related agencies that fall under the state’s umbrella, such as county public children service agencies or child support enforcement agencies. Nor does the move affect the state’s One Stop employment centers.
“Those offices, which are the front door for almost all of our services, will remain in every county. Those offices are under local control,” Johnson said. “They do not provide in-person services. These moves will be invisible to individuals and businesses we serve. They are basically administrative support offices with no walk-in traffic.”
He said some are call-in centers that handle only unemployment compensation claims, which are taken over the phone or filed online. Ohioans do not apply for unemployment in person anymore.
The following locations also will be affected:
• Bowling Green and Maumee; staff will move to a new Toledo location.
• Bridgeport; staff will move to Reno.
• Dayton, Fort Loramie and Springdale; staff from the three centers will combine at a new location to be determined.
• Ironton; staff will move to Chillicothe.
• Mansfield; staff will move to Lorain or the Air Center location in Columbus.
• Richmond Heights; staff will move to Cleveland.
• The Plains; staff will move to the Air Center and Lazarus locations in Columbus.
• Tiffin; staff will move to a new Toledo location or to Lima.
• Toronado Street in Columbus; staff will move to the Integrity Drive location in Columbus.
Five offices will remain in Columbus. Officials say they are studying further consolidation options.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.