One Person’s Story of Success in Ohio’s Challenging Economic Environment


Ohio’s economy might not be the pride of the nation, but it certainly has its bright spots. While the manufacturing work that sustained the state for so long has largely evaporated, a booming service industry offers plenty in the way of opportunity. Jobs there might not always pay as well as the unionized manufacturing positions of days past, but there is typically room for growth and advancement.

The story of one recent graduate of Columbus State Community College makes this fact plain. With a Master’s Degree in Personnel Management in hand, Mary blanchette set out to apply her skills in the manufacturing industry. Finding that the few appropriate jobs there in Ohio were hard to come by, she switched tracks, founding a consultancy instead.

As entrepreneurs are often well-advised to do, she shifted with the prevailing winds, finding that her services were much more appreciated by companies operating in the state’s service industry. With a string of successful contracts under her belt, she quickly found herself poised to take over some more permanent responsibilities with one of the state’s service industry employers.

That led Blanchette to a position designing training programs for service workers, as well as overseeing, in a hands-on fashion, some of the education itself. Within a relatively short time of leaving the world of academia, then, she had switched from one industry to the another, finished a number of contract projects in impressive fashion, and landed a job in an industry she had not initially thought viable.

In the challenging environment entailed by Ohio’s economy, stories like this one are becoming more the norm. Instead of setting up shop in one industry for years and building up a secure middle-class life, today’s workers are finding it pays to be more flexible and dynamic. Those who do so, it turns out, become far more capable of seizing whichever opportunities the state puts in front of them. While not every person will chart a course to the manufacturing industry that comes to an end in the service sector, being able to hang on and adapt over the course of that kind of journey is an increasingly valuable skill.