New Research Shows Approximately 6.3% of Workers in Ohio’s Manufacturing Industry Were Immigrants, Despite Making up 4.7% of Ohio’s Total Population in 2019

The American Immigration Council report underscores the key role immigrants play in the Buckeye State's manufacturing industry.

October 31, 2023
Last modified: 
October 31, 2023

AKRON, October 31, 2023– New research on The Economic Contributions of Immigrants in Ohio’s Manufacturing Sector released today by Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions a statewide business coalition powered by the American Immigration Council with over 100 membersin partnership with the Greater Akron Chamber, underscores the crucial role immigrants in Ohio already play in the state’s manufacturing industry. 

Like much of the nation, Ohio has faced workforce shortages for years. Many immigrants have received specialized education, licenses, and international training that would qualify them to fill these needs in the manufacturing industry today, but they continue to face barriers to applying these skills in Ohio,” said Rich André, Director of State and Local Initiatives at the American Immigration Council. “Ohio’s manufacturing industry has long played a crucial role in both the state and nation’s economy, creating goods for American homes and business. Now the state must channel that same spirit of innovation to invest in policies that attract and retain talent to help grow the manufacturing industry and ensure that Ohio has a vibrant economy.”    

“In our conversations with employers, workforce development is a top concern. Whether it’s a global manufacturer, mid-sized retail operation, or small chemical plant – all facets of Greater Akron’s economy consistently struggle to find, train, and retain talent. Locally, we’ve seen some employers have increased job retention and reduced absenteeism when hiring international newcomers,” said John Rizzo, vice president of government affairs at the Greater Akron Chamber. “While anecdotal, our region is rallying around the success we’ve seen companies have engaging immigrant populations to fill talent gaps. This exciting work led to the creation of the “Welcoming Workforce Coalition” in Summit County which consists of nearly 20 local partners who are piloting a program to provide onsite assistance and connectivity to businesses and resident newcomers. While there is still much work to do, we see a growing recognition of the value that immigrant populations bring to our workforce ecosystem and we’re confident this will lead to greater engagement and opportunity.” 

Key findings: 

  • Immigrants and refugees in Ohio help bolster the state’s manufacturing workforce. While immigrants made up 4.7% of the state’s total population in 2019, the share of immigrant workers in the manufacturing industry from 2015 to 2019 was approximately 6.3%. 

  • From 2017 to 2021, demand for manufacturing occupations that required at least six months of specialized training increased dramatically across the state. From 2017 to 2021, the number of online job postings for production occupations increased by 351.8% and first-line supervisors of production and operators increased by 277.8%. From 2015 to 2019, the share of immigrants who worked in high-skilled manufacturing jobs was 5.9%. 

  • International students can help fill manufacturing jobs and innovate across the industry. In October 2021, a total of 17,400 international students in Ohio were enrolled in degree programs or Optional Practical Training (OPT) in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Two-thirds of these international students were pursuing either a master’s or a doctoral degree. 

Read the full research brief to learn more  


About the American Immigration Council 

The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. In January 2022, the Council and New American Economy merged to combine a broad suite of advocacy tools to better expand and protect the rights of immigrants, more fully ensure immigrants’ ability to succeed economically, and help make the communities they settle in more welcoming. Follow the latest Council news and information on and Twitter @immcouncil  

About Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions 

Ohio Business for Immigration Solutions (OBIS) is a coalition of more than 100 Ohio businesses, trade associations, chambers of commerce, and economic development groups that believe modernizing our immigration system is critically important for the growth of the state's economy. With its launch on December 10, 2020, the coalition released the Ohio Compact on Immigration, a set of principles developed to elevate the Ohio business community's desire to promote immigration reforms that will strengthen the economy, attract and retain global talent, and bring new businesses to the Buckeye state. OBIS supports sensible public policy solutions that rise above partisanship and rhetoric and meet the challenges of the current immigration system while recognizing the valuable contributions immigrants make to the state.  

About the Greater Akron Chamber 

The Greater Akron Chamber is a regional chamber of commerce and economic development organization that serves over 2,300 employers across Summit, Portage, and Medina counties. Our mission is to drive economic growth and prosperity for Greater Akron by supporting the success of the business community and acting as a convener of stakeholders on key issues facing the region. We are at the center of our business community’s advocacy efforts and catalyze action to solve problems and position our region for growth and success. As a proud member of OBIS, we work with members and statewide partners on identifying and pursuing policies that support immigration reforms which positively impact workforce development.  

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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