Report Finds Ohio Immigrants Account for 20% of the Workforce

In a report published on July 18 from the Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions (OBIS), new research shows that Ohio immigrants account for over 20% of the workforce. 

The American Immigration Council has been working toward teaching others the importance of how Ohio immigrants make a difference in some of the most demanding fields.

“Over the past several years I have known teachers, doctors, nurses, accountants, engineers and others from other countries with years of experience in their field who are no longer able to work in it because of onerous occupational licensure and certification requirements in the U.S.,” Edward Haag, Career and Education Advisor of Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS), said. “Most simply don’t have the time or money to be able to return to school to meet licensure requirements.”

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, jobs across the state were in dire need to be filled and many companies found that they struggled to find anyone to fill the positions. However, part of the reason finding people to hire was such a challenge was due to the limitations that immigrants face when applying for employment. 

Many immigrants face limitations with registrations and occupational certification laws despite having the education, licensing and training internationally that would qualify the individual in order to attain that job in the United States.

According to OBIS, some of the key findings within their research entailed:

  • Growth in the immigrant population has helped strengthen the Ohio labor force. In 2019, immigrants in Ohio comprised 4.7 percent of the population, but 5.7 percent of the state’s overall workforce. As of 2021, there were 3.7 million Ohioans aged 55 and older expected to retire in the next decade.
  • The demand for bilingual workers across all occupations continues to expand, with job postings increasing by 106.5 percent from 2017 to 2021. Immigrants will be crucial to helping meet the demand for multilingual and culturally competent workers in the sectors that power the Ohio economy.
  • Manufacturing is a key economic driver in Ohio. In 2019, the state’s manufacturing sector generated more than $112 billion in produced goods and services. The greatest number of online job postings in 2021 was for production workers; postings tripled from 5,063 to 19,477 in five years. From 2015 to 2019, immigrants made up 5.4 percent of all production workers in Ohio.
  • Immigrants play a critical role in the STEM workforce, helping Ohio remain innovative. In 2021, the greatest number of online STEM job postings were in the computer jobs family, such as computer systems analysts, computer programmers, and software developers. The average share of workers from 2015 to 2019 who were immigrants in computer occupations was 13.5 percent.
  • Job postings in the healthcare industry increased by 82.1 percent from 2017 to 2021. The average share of workers from 2015 to 2019 who were immigrants as registered nurses (RNs) was 4.4 percent, as nurse practitioners was 13.1 percent, and as home healthcare aides was 13.6 percent.

For more information on this report, visit ohcompact.org.

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