Located in Central Ohio, Columbus is home to nearly 1.9 million people and a stable, growing economy. Since 2010, the region has attracted more than $4.5 billion in capital investments and created more than 85,000 new jobs, according to Columbus 2020, the area's economic development organization. Columbus has numerous business sectors driving and producing growth in the local area, including science and technology, manufacturing, health care and more. In addition, the area is seeing emerging and expanding industries, such as energy, information technology, and e-commerce, are fueling a period of economic prosperity.
Major companies across those industry sectors are headquartered in Columbus. Some of the biggest include OhioHealth (health care), Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (insurance and finance), American Electric Power (utilities), Mount Carmel Health System (health care), L Brands, Inc. (distribution and retail).
Top industries and employers in Columbus
The largest employers in Columbus represent several business sectors, including financial services, investment banking, insurance and automotive manufacturing. By size, the five biggest employers (by full-time employees) in the region include the following:
- JPMorgan Chase: 20,475
- Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company: 11,100
- Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc.: 9,433
- L Brands, Inc.: 7,800
- Huntington Bancshares Incorporated: 5,052
Manufacturing, an industry heavily reliant on skilled, vocationally trained individuals, has a major footprint in the greater Columbus region. The subsectors of manufacturing are varied, ranging from steel to glass production, appliance manufacturing to lawn care products. Data from Columbus 2020 reveals the following ten largest manufacturing employers in Columbus:
- Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. (automotive)
- Whirlpool Corporation (appliances)
- TS Tech Company, Limited (automotive)
- Abbott Nutrition (food and beverage)
- Emerson Network Power (utilities)
- Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane, Inc. (medical)
- Worthington Industries, Inc. (steel)
- Ariel Corporation (energy)
- EveryWare Global, Inc., (glass)
- The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (lawn care products)
While manufacturing does represent a significant portion of employment opportunities for individuals with a vocational education, other significant industries such as logistics, agbioscience, and science and technology also present potential career paths for vocational graduates.
In the agbioscience industry, Batelle, a research and development company, is the region's largest employer, with nearly 2,200 full-time employees in the area. Abbott Nutrition (2,055) and Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane Laboratories (1,370) round out the top three agbioscience employers in Columbus.
Logistics, one of the most diversified industries, has broad operational focuses -- ranging from restaurant suppliers to retail organizations. The biggest employers in retail include L Brands, Inc., (7,800 full-time employees), Eddie Bauer (2,069), and Big Lots (860). In the food industry, Wasserstrom (873), Wendy's (772), and Cadbury-Schweppes Bottling (350) are leading employers in the region.
Vocational careers in Columbus
Vocational training is available from a host of colleges and vocational schools in the Columbus region. With more than 25 colleges and universities, including community colleges, in the greater area, prospective students have a wide selection of available training paths.
Besides these traditional vocational training outlets, the state of Ohio, Franklin County, and the city of Columbus are committed to providing workforce, skill development and employment placement services to members of the Columbus community. Example organizations providing these types of services in Columbus include the following:
- Alvis House
- Center of Vocational Alternatives (COVA)
- Columbus Chamber
- Columbus State Center for Workforce Development
- Columbus Urban League
- Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation
- Sisters of Empowerment
For those considering a vocational education in Columbus, having an understanding of the employment situation regarding vocationally related careers is a good first step. According to 2013 employment and salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following careers are some of the best paying vocational occupations in Columbus (with total employment and average annual salary):
- Web Developers: 1,010 employees, $67,620
- Computer Network Support Specialists: 2,200, $62,100
- Architectural and Civil Drafters: 690, $48,510
- Electrical and Electronics Drafter: 100, $51,370
- Civil Engineering Technicians: 530, $54,750
- Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health: 170, $39,190
- Paralegals and Legal Assistants: 1,650, $44,870
- Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education: 3,880, $25,410
If you are one of those individuals thinking about enrolling in a vocational certificate, diploma or degree program, be sure to investigate your possible career options and how completing training in a specific career field could bolster those opportunities.
Forbes, Columbus, Ohio, http://www.forbes.com/places/oh/columbus/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Columbus OH, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_18140.htm