Job Hubs

What Are Job Hubs?

Job hubs are specific places of concentrated economic activity in a region. They are defined and identified based on the extent to which they exhibit the following four characteristics:
  • High concentration of traded-sector jobs: Working with the Fund for Our Economic Future and TeamNEO, we identified job hubs based on the number of traded-sector jobs in a particular area, with a focus on places with job density in the top 5 percent in the region. The research focused specifically on identifying clusters of employment in sectors of the economy like manufacturing or business consulting that can export (or trade) goods and services outside of Northeast Ohio. To learn more about the importance of the traded sector and why it was focused on in the study, download the full report here.
  • Multiple traded-sector employers: Job hubs represent "clusters" of business activity and other assets like roads, highways, transit, and utilities. Business clustering allows for efficient use of infrastructure and creates other spill-over benefits from the accumulation of human and physical capital.
  • Alignment with local development patterns: Job hubs reflect local development patterns and the location of businesses, infrastructure, transportation assets, and land inventory in each place. This alignment with the built-environment will hopefully facilitate local community planning discussions around potential land use policies, transportation investments or other strategies to enhance each job hub's market competitiveness.
  • Alignment with civic priorities and economic development opportunities: Beyond encompassing many existing businesses and jobs, job hubs also contain high-quality sites with existing infrastructure or office inventory that, if occupied, could further add density to the job hub. We are coordinating with our local partners to promote the vibrancy and growth of job hubs that can compete in the global 21st-century economy.

Why Do Job Hubs Matter?

Over the last several decades in Northeast Ohio, our industrial, commercial and residential development has expanded outward, while the number of people living here and the number of jobs located here has remained about the same. The result: People are increasingly disconnected from jobs. Indeed, residents in the Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown areas saw huge drops in the number of nearby jobs from 2000 to 2012, according to a study from the Brookings Institution. This trend is even worse for residents of low-income neighborhoods.

The spatial mismatch between people and jobs has real costs. People spend more time and money commuting; businesses struggle to fill open positions; municipalities spend on infrastructure to support new development while having to maintain the underutilized assets left behind; and our environment suffers as air quality declines due to long, car-based commutes. Ultimately, our regional economy loses its competitive edge.
Job Hubs can help us better understand and address these issues. Any conversation about sustainable economic growth should begin with job hubs. The reasons for our outward expansion are many, but cannot be chalked up to free market forces alone. Fragmented, dispersed, unaligned decisions on where to allocate public incentives, how to prioritize land aggregation, and what infrastructure upgrades to invest in have had a compounding impact over time. Just as past decisions have led to our current situation, decisions our leaders make now can shape the development of the future.

Supporting business growth around a thoughtfully identified and competitive job hub can form the foundation of an economy that is attractive for businesses to grow, efficient for residents to access, fiscally prudent, and environmentally responsible. And it is a concept that allows for growth throughout the region since there are job hubs in cities, suburbs and rural communities.

Job Hubs Story Map

Click on the image below to view the Summit County Job Hubs interactive story map, where viewers can get information about the job hubs in Summit County including: available buildings/sites, amenities, workforce, transportation, and more. The Akron-Summit County Job Hubs story map initiative is a collaborative effort between the County of Summit, the City of Akron, AMATS, TeamNEO, Fund for Our Economic Future, and Greater Akron Chamber to develop a new and innovative way to highlight available properties and amenities in Summit County to attract investment and talent in those areas.
We are currently working on developing the Job Hubs that will be added to the Story Map in the weeks ahead.

Click Here to learn more about the job hubs from the Fund for Our Economic Future website.
Add to Report View Custom Report