“All this means is new job creation,” Kaelin said.
Though a large influx of new jobs will help the city’s economy, Kaelin said some existing businesses, especially those within the restaurant industry, are struggling to fill open jobs.
“It really became apparent that workforce development was going to become a critical part of our economic development strategy over the next couple of years,” he said.
One strategy is to better connect high school students with companies.
The city with the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, OhioMeansJobs Butler County, and the Fairfield City School District have worked to present the inaugural Fairfield Career Fest on April 21.
Fairfield Chamber President and CEO Kert Radel said this career fest “would not be possible with the area companies totally embracing this event.”
“The action from our business community has been overwhelming. They’ve been looking for something like this and they’re very positive about it,” said Radel. “We want to wow the students. We want to expose to them different careers available to them.”
Forty-five businesses ― including four out of Fairfield’s top five employers ― will attend the school-day event for 1,500 high school juniors and seniors who will attend the event instead of their English class. They’re looking for students to fill part-time jobs, summer jobs, and internships, and also expose them to possible careers.
Fairfield City Schools spokesperson Gina Gentry-Fletcher said the career fest will give the school’s juniors and seniors “opportunities to explore options for possible future careers within their own community.”
“It is a great way to build that workforce pipeline of local talent,” she said. “It is proof that local businesses see a benefit in assisting us as we provide opportunities for students to succeed. They will now have a set of professional role models who are invested in their futures.”
The Fairfield Chamber is also assisting businesses in finding more experienced employees as just posting openings on job-search sites will not be enough. Every other month, the chamber offers the Fairfield Executive HR Zoom meeting, showing “ways to find employees for your business if you need more seasoned employees. So we’re attacking this workforce initiate on two fronts.”
Though 2021 was a year that saw businesses promise to collectively bring hundreds to the city, it was also a year where most of the capital investment in the southwest Ohio region was made in Fairfield, said Brandon Simmons, REDI Cincinnati vice president of Project Management.
He said there were more than $212.8 million in capital investments made in Fairfield in 2021, which represented 77% of the investment in the region.
This year could have even more job growth, said Simmons. Though Fairfield likely won’t be the primary benefactor, Intel’s $20 billion investment around Columbus will have a “trickle-down effect” on the 140-plus suppliers, more than 40 of which are in the Cincinnati region.
“We are expecting expansions of their supply chain,” Simmons said. “What we’ve been told is that they’re all likely to expand to meet the demand.”
THE EXPANSION OF FAIRFIELD’S ECONOMY
The City of Fairfield saw a large number of jobs promised in 2021 as a result of tax incentive deals with a variety of employers. The Journal-News is taking a deep dive into Fairfield’s looming economic expansion as new employers are moving into the city and existing employers are expanding and adding to the workforce.