John Molinaro Blog

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Appalachian Partnership Chairman and CEO John Molinaro has been developing rural economies for three decades.  He also knows the policy side having come to APEG from the Aspen Institute in Washington D.C. and through service on national rural development boards.  He is shaping the Rare Mix of Assets offered by Ohio’s 32 Appalachian-designated counties into the region’s first-ever economic development entity.

21st Century Buffalo Hunting

Many economic developers describe the art of attracting large domestic and foreign companies as “buffalo hunting.”  Some praise the practice saying that bagging the big, migratory beast fills a lot of stewpots and benefits the whole tribe.  Others criticize economic development as being too focused on buffalo, rather than on local firms – the rabbits, squirrels and deer that fill most of our stewpots every day.

Since starting in 2012, APEG has focused mostly on local game.  We know that 80-90 percent of new jobs come from growing companies already present in our economy.  We have made thousands of calls on local companies, looking for ways to help them grow and succeed here in Appalachian Ohio.  Our retention and expansion efforts have resulted in most of the 5500 plus new jobs we have helped grow in the region.

Mike Jacoby describes (below) how APEG is launching new efforts to attract companies to…

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Why Wood?

It may seem odd that APEG is putting so much effort into our wood products industry.  In a world where technologies are introduced daily and whole new industries gear up to produce them, why focus so much attention on wood? After all, people have been making things with wood since we lived in caves!

So, why wood?

First off, wood is here to stay.  The demand for fine hardwood products remains very strong.  Some of the finest hardwoods in the world grow here.  We can substantially increase their harvest and still be sustainable.  Most of our forests are owned by small local landowners, so every tree we sustainably harvest puts more money into our region’s economy.

Second, our forest economy is huge.  The industry contributed $22 billion to Ohio’s GDP, providing $5.7 billion in wages and 118,000 jobs in 2010 – before the economic recovery really got rolling.  More than 70 percent of…

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Let’s Celebrate Manufacturing!

October is Ohio Manufacturing Month

Ten years ago pundits were saying that manufacturing was dead in America, and that we don’t need manufacturing jobs.  They were wrong then, and are even more wrong today.  That’s great news for Appalachian Ohio.

Why do we need manufacturing? Manufacturing is one of three or four industries that economists say create all the world’s wealth.  The others are agriculture (including forestry), extraction (mining and drilling) provided you minimize environmental damage, and possibly some cutting edge IT work.  All other industries just move around the wealth these industries create.   Since you only have so much land and minerals and high-end IT is hard to do in rural areas, most rural areas must focus on manufacturing to build their economies.

Isn’t manufacturing declining in America?  Not at all.  We certainly did export a lot of our manufacturing jobs in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, but by 2000 we…

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Workforce Implications for Changes in Marijuana Testing

Starting a Conversation

In his remarks at the 2015 State of the Region Conference, John Molinaro, president and CEO of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, introduced the topic of workplace marijuana testing as a consideration for keeping qualified workers on the job. His excerpted comments follow.

Many of the tests commonly used for drugs (other than alcohol) measure historical use, not present intoxication.  This means they test as much or more for whether a worker is complying with broader cultural or moral standards than whether the worker represents a safety hazard to the company and coworkers.  This may have been acceptable at a time when we had significantly more workers than jobs, but as workforce supplies become more constrained we must rethink this norm.

Testing for past exposure is especially true for marijuana use.  Commonly used tests for marijuana use have a look-back period of 30 days to six months.  The most…

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John Molinaro,
President, CEO

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