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Political Science News

Ohio Employee Ownership Center Receives $500,000 Award

Posted Dec. 16, 2010

The Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) recently announced that the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) based at Kent State University has been awarded $500,000 to be a partner in the department’s Early Warning Network. The purpose of the network is to avert layoffs and job loss in Ohio through timely intervention in at-risk companies.

The OEOC, a non-profit outreach center of Kent State, supports the development of business across Ohio and around the world by its efforts that are proven to save jobs, create wealth and grow the economy.

The announcement praised the OEOC and the other grant recipients for their “strong track record in working with employers, maintaining stable relationships with regional partners and administering layoff aversion activities.” The OEOC was awarded the largest amount out of the 11 recipients.

“We are very pleased to have again earned the support of the Ohio Department of Development to assist them in promoting smart strategies to avert layoffs, promote business retention and expansion and anchor jobs and capital in the state of Ohio,” said OEOC Program Director Bill McIntyre.

The funds will be used by the OEOC to continue layoff aversion activities in three major areas: assisting business owners seeking an orderly exit from their business through its Business Succession Planning Program, thereby minimizing business disruption and job loss; assisting in the creation of employee-owned businesses, either through employee- or community-led buyouts under threat of relocation or shutdown, or sale by an existing owner; and helping existing employee-owned companies to preserve their jobs and to grow and expand the business by fully utilizing the benefits of employee ownership through the programming of Ohio’s Employee-Owned Network.

The funding also will allow the OEOC to continue the administration of its successful Prefeasibility Study Grant Program, which provides funds for owners and employees of companies facing possible job loss to explore whether converting to an employee-owned company can help avoid closure and layoffs.

Additionally, the OEOC plans on continuing work in two new areas:

• Expanding the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative, a project in the University Circle area of Cleveland designed to create jobs and wealth by linking new employee-owned businesses that employ residents of inner-city neighborhoods with large nearby anchor institutions.

• Expanding services and programs to farmers, agribusinesses and other companies in the many rural areas around the state. Services will include farm/agribusiness succession planning assistance and technical support from the OEOC’s new Cooperative Development Center.

For more information about Kent State’s Ohio Employee Ownership Center and its programs, visit www.oeockent.org. For more information on the Early Warning Network, visit http://development.ohio.gov/workforce.

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Media Contacts:
Chris Cooper, ccooper1@kent.edu, 330-673-0338
Bob Burford, rburford@kent.edu, 330-672-8516