Community Assessment Shows Increased Education, Job Concerns

posted 7/21/17 -- Lorain County Community Action Agency’s latest Community Needs Assessment shows area residents are responding to the greater education needs of employers but still concerned about the stability of their jobs.

LCCAA, serving Lorain County residents in need since 1966, conducts the assessment every three years to ensure its programming meets local needs and to comply with funder requirements.

“By official economic analysis, we’ve passed beyond the Great Recession of 2007 through 2009,” said Director of Planning and Operations Frank Prihoda. “However, Lorain County has had a severe migration of business and jobs. The jobs that do exist or have been created do not pay the higher wages that existed previously.”

And, those employed feel less secure. In the assessment, 28 percent of respondents said they were seriously worried about having a stable job. This is higher even than the number who were worried in LCCAA’s 2008 Community Needs Assessment, 21 percent.

“People who are working are more afraid of losing their jobs,” Prihoda said.

At the same time, in response to increasing employer demands, more people have completed higher education. In the assessment, 32 percent of respondents had a four-year degree and 11 percent a two-year degree. This compares favorably with the last assessment in which only 16 percent of respondents had a four-year degree and 10 percent a two-year degree.

“This information needs to be communicated to potential employers,” Prihoda said. “Lorain County residents are working to prepare themselves for current and future job opportunities.”

Lorain County residents do have confidence in their health. A total of 81 percent rated their health average or above other people their age. This is an indication that the Affordable Care Act and other health care systems are working, Prihoda said.

Not having enough food was reported as a problem by only 7 percent of respondents. However, it was cited as the service respondents were most likely to request in the next year.

In other findings:

  • 35% of respondents report a problem having enough money to pay bills.
  • 34% of respondents report lack of dental insurance as a problem.
  • 27% of respondents have children in their household.
  • 41% of the respondents are working
  • 78% of the respondents are homeowners

LCCAA also held two town hall meetings in June to present the findings and gather additional input, Prihoda said.