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ODOD Extends Contract With Ohio Employee Ownership Center

Posted Dec, 11, 2009

The Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) has renewed the contract with the Ohio Employee Ownership Center at Kent State University to administer the Prefeasibility Study Grant Program for the state of Ohio.

Steve Clem, program coordinator for the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, said this program is part of Ohio's job retention toolkit. "When a facility is facing a shutdown or divestiture, ownership by the employees could be an answer to continued operation of the facility," he said. "But how do they find out? A prefeasibility study is generally a relatively quick and inexpensive means to determine if a plant or facility can survive and be competitive, under what conditions, and whether employee ownership might be a viable alternative.

"But even though such studies are relatively inexpensive, they do cost money, something that is likely to be in short supply for a group of workers staring at a plant closing or mass layoff. That is where the prefeasibility study grant program in Ohio can be of valuable assistance. It is a way for employee groups to help themselves."

To be eligible for a grant, there has to be a threat of job loss or shutdown. The size of an individual prefeasibility study grant is typically in the $10,000 to $25,000 range, but larger grants are possible when there is particular justification. The application process is relatively simple and quick. The first step is to contact the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, 113 McGilvrey Hall, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242. The phone number for the Ohio Employee Ownership Center is 330-672-3028, and its e-mail address is oeoc@kent.edu.

Ohio is a national leader in funding prefeasibility studies and has funded 69 such studies since 1991. As a result of the program, employee ownership was established in 14 of these companies, a respectable 20 percent success rate in situations where the continued existence of the company had been threatened.

"Saving jobs is the smart thing to do," Clem said. "Saving jobs expands the local labor market and the local economy while saving the state of Ohio many thousands of dollars by reducing the need for unemployment compensation payments and other social services."

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Media Contacts:
Steve Clem, cclem@kent.edu, 330-672-0335
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595