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Cincinnati's marketing efforts a "best practices" model for collaboration


Andrew Levine writes about "marketing places" for Forbes, and his most recent article discussed how successful cities find ways for their two main marketing organizations — the convention and visitors bureau and the economic development agency —  to work together to increase investment in the city.

Levine suggests five ways the two marketing organizations should collaborate and uses Cincinnati as one of his "best practices" examples.

"Cincinnati is a good example of collaboration," he writes. "In May 2014, the Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau, REDI Cincinnati and half a dozen major arts organizations in the region led a ten-day mission to New York City (titled 'Cincy in NYC'). Amid performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Joyce Theatre, the group connected with meeting planners, site selection consultants, corporate executives, travel/business media and past Cincinnati residents. It was a tour de force for the community."

Read the full Forbes article here.
 

Miami, XU, UC and NKU ranked in Forbes' top 650 colleges


Forbes is out with its annual rankings of U.S. colleges and universities, focusing more than ever on the hot topic of a college degree's return on investment — which it says differentiates its rankings from U.S. News & World Report, among others.

Miami University was the top Cincinnati area college, ranking 167 overall, ahead of Xavier University at 315, University of Cincinnati at 381 and Northern Kentucky University at 626. Other notable area rankings include Indiana University at 112, Ohio State University at 155, University of Dayton at 220, University of Kentucky at 319 and Ohio University at 407.

"While the cost of U.S. higher education escalates, there’s a genuine silver lining in play," Caroline Howard writes in the intro to "America's Top Colleges Ranking 2015." "A growing number of colleges and universities are now focusing on student-consumer value over marketing prestige, making this a new age of return-on-investment education. This pivot is the result of intense public scrutiny on the substantial cost of a degree vs. long tail worth — the very heart of Forbes' definitive Top Colleges ranking, now in its eighth year."

Forbes partnered with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity to rank the top 650 schools on what Howard says distinguishes is "our belief in 'output' over 'input.' We’re not all that interested in what gets a student into college, like our peers who focus heavily on selectivity metrics such as high school class rank, SAT scores and the like. Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting out of college?"

Forbes' rankings score colleges on post-graduate success (32.5% of grade), student satisfaction (25%), student debt (25%), academic success (10%) and graduation rate (7.5%).

Read the full Forbes article and rankings here.
 

Cincinnati is recapturing and redefining its dining legacy


Cincinnati native Keith Pandolfi makes a convincing argument that Cincinnati is and should be recognized as the next big food city in the U.S.

Writing in Savuer ("a magazine for people who experience the world through food first"), he fills its "Where I'm From" column with memories of great local restaurants from his youth (Pigall's, The Maisonette, The Gourmet Room, The Precinct) and a first-person journey through the city's current high-profile dining spots.

"But Cincinnati is recapturing something," Pandolfi writes, "and while it’s a little different — a little less formal — than the opulent dining scene of its past, it’s definitely something worth checking out the next time a magazine article lures you to Louisville." He bristles at "other midsize cities like Nashville, Pittsburgh and Asheville, all deserving in their own ways, being called the next big food city when hardly anyone says that about Cincinnati."

Read the full Saveur article here.
 

Midwestern cities connect manufacturing past with tomorrow's next big tech invention


Next City looks at how Midwestern cities are trying to revive manufacturing in the startup economy under the catchy title "Cleveland Wants to Make Sure the Next Wright Brothers Come From the Rust Belt." Next City is a nonprofit organization providing daily online coverage of the leaders, policies and innovations driving progress in metropolitan regions across the world.

The article is written by Lee Chilcote, managing editor of Fresh Water, Soapbox's sister publication in Cleveland, and focuses on emerging "hardware" startup scenes in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Youngstown. Although Cincinnati isn't mentioned, the manufacturing startup ecosystem here — embodied at First Batch and Hamilton Mill, among other local business backers — certainly fits the changing dynamic the article describes.

"Hardware startups ... are more viable than ever thanks to evolving prototyping technology and, in many places, a renewed emphasis on advanced manufacturing," Chilcote writes. "While software's promised land has long been Silicon Valley, the Rust Belt is fast becoming a land of milk and honey — and plasma — for hardware. In cities such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio, there is already an infrastructure for affordable manufacturing in place. Plenty of institutional partners like NASA in Cleveland are eager to support new entrepreneurs."

Read the full Next City article here.
 

Have developers figured out the "secret sauce" for gentrifying neighborhoods?


Have urban real estate investors come up with a winning formula to push redevelopment in "transitional" neighborhoods? According to Quartz, the digital news site covering the new global economy, it could be something as simple and intuitive as opening a coffee shop.

"Often, at least in America, we think of regular people as the agents of change — the artist, the boutique coffee shop owner, the tech startup," Sonali Kohli writes. "But as much as gentrification is an organic process, fueled by opportunity seekers and bargain hunters, it’s developers and financiers who have become the savvy midwives of change. Once they detect the early signs of gentrification, they bring on the serious money. ...

"The idea of driving development in an area by attracting trendsetters is not a new one; in fact urban planners took to calling it The Soho Effect in recognition of the revitalization of that New York City neighborhood after artists began moving into empty lofts in the 1970s."

Read the full story here.
 

Cincinnati Children's named #3 overall pediatric hospital in U.S.


U.S. News & World Report released its ninth annual rankings of U.S. pediatric hospitals, and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center was recognized as #3 overall.

The rankings evaluate hospitals in 10 specialties, from cancer to urology, and in the new rankings 83 hospitals were ranked among the top 50 in at least one specialty. Twelve of the 83 ranked hospitals had high scores in three or more specialties and were named to the Honor Roll. Cincinnati Children's was one of only three hospitals to be ranked in all 10 specialties, and the other two (Boston Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) ended up #1 and #2 overall, respectively.

See the full rankings here.
 

Kroger 20, P&G 32 on new Fortune 500 list


Greater Cincinnati is home to 10 of this year's Fortune 500 in the magazine's 2015 ranking of the largest U.S. public companies. Kroger is the highest ranked, at #20, followed by Procter & Gamble at #32.

Other locally-based companies to make the list include Macy's (105), Ashland (371), Omnicare (414), AK Steel (415), Fifth Third Bank (416), General Cable (443), American Financial (459) and Western & Southern (481). Omnicare recently announced it was being acquired by CVS Health (#10 on the list).

Five years ago, P&G was ranked #22 and Kroger #23.

The five largest U.S. companies are Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway and Apple.

See the full Fortune 500 list here.
 

Workers need to make $13-$14/hour to afford apartment in Tristate


CityLab discusses a new study by the Pew Research Center on the growing gap between what American hourly workers earn and the rising cost of housing. The study results in a map showing how much a worker needs to earn per hour in each state to rent a two-bedroom apartment, finding that in no state can a person earning minimum wage afford such an apartment at market rent.

You'd have to earn $14.13 per hour in Ohio to afford a two-bedroom apartment, $14.31 in Indiana and $13.14 in Kentucky. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour; Ohio raised its minimum wage to $8.10/hour this year, while Indiana and Kentucky use the federally mandated rate.

CityLab also looks at the cost of moving to one-bedroom apartments, though the hourly pay requirements aren't spelled out state-by-state. Instead, a second map indicates that someone in Ohio working a minimum-wage job would need to work 54 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment; Indiana workers would have to work 62 hours/week and Kentucky workers 57 hours/week.

"Rents keep rising because the demand for rentals keeps growing, and that’s partly because fewer people can afford to buy their homes today than they could before the recession," the article says. "The low supply of rentals has created a situation where people who definitely can’t afford to buy are also priced out of renting."

Read the full story here.
 

WVXU's Cincinnati Edition discusses church buildings coming back to life


WVXU's "Cincinnati Edition" show did a segment June 2 about abandoned local church buildings coming back to life, the subject of a recent Soapbox feature story by Rick Pender. Host Mark Heyne interviewed Pender, Cincinnati Preservation Association Executive Director Paul Muller and Kevin Moreland, head brewer and partner at Taft's Ale House, a focal point of Pender's story.

Listen to the full "Cincinnati Edition" segment here.
 

Hamilton County's slashed government jobs are likely gone for good


Governing Magazine's June issue reviews financial documents for more than 250 of the nation's larger distressed cities and counties to identify those recording among the steepest declines in public employment. Hamilton County ranks 11th, cutting 26.8 percent of its workforce from its 2006 peak of 6,272 positions to its current staff of 4,592.

"Total local government employment nationally remains about a half-million below its 2008 peak. But some governments have suffered a great deal more than others," says the article, "Are Some Government Jobs Gone for Good?" "What led these governments to make severe workforce reductions and how they responded to cutbacks offer unique lessons in an era of doing more with less."

Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman is quoted as saying he doesn't expect his workforce to return to pre-recession levels anytime soon but that the county has learned to adapt to the new reality. "Quite frankly, I don't want those days back," he says. "We’re now a leaner and more engaged organization."

Read the full article here.
 

Cincinnati's police reform after 2001 riots is a national model


Cincinnati Police reforms resulting from a U.S. Justice Dept. consent decree after the 2001 riots here are in the news every time another major city undergoes soul-searching following the death of an African American at the hands of police. The latest news story was about Cleveland's own consent decree from the Justice Dept. that will attempt to clean up a broken relationship between that city's police and its citizens.

"Cincinnati’s lessons seem newly relevant as officials call for police reform in the aftermath of the deaths of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Michael Brown in Ferguson and Tamir Rice in Cleveland," Alana Semuels writes in The Atlantic. "Indeed, the recently released report from President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommends that departments adopt some of the strategies used by Cincinnati. A task force convened by Ohio Governor John Kasich cited Cincinnati as a model for community-oriented policing and recommended that other law-enforcement agencies in that state develop similar reforms."

Semuels offers a long, nuanced story about the long path the Cincinnati Police Dept. has traveled from its own broken community relationship to today's role as "a model for community-oriented policing." Things aren't perfect here by any stretch, as the rash of recent shootings have some questioning if the police are still on the right path.

Still, "for a great many other cities, Cincinnati’s imperfect present provides a glimpse of a much better future," Semuels writes.

Read the full story here.
 

Locally filmed 'Carol' gets rave reviews at Cannes


Todd Haynes' 1950s-era drama Carol, filmed in Cincinnati last year, debuted this past weekend at the Cannes Film Festival in France to outstanding reviews, writes Steve Rosen on today's CityBeat staff blog. He says Cannes critics "called it an instant Oscar contender and the most important high-profile gay drama to come out of American cinema since 2005's Brokeback Mountain."

Carol stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in a story (based on the 1952 novel The Price of Salt) about a socialite who falls in love with a young department-store clerk.

Rosen links to published reviews from Variety ("the most important publication chronicling the entertainment business") and indieWire ("the most influential website for the independent-film industry").

Read the full post here.
 

Cincinnati Symphony's stability, growth in stark contrast to many other U.S. orchestras


The New York Times took notice of last week's announcements from Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra about its successful fundraising campaign and a new musician contract that will allow it to hire 14 more full-time players over the next four years. Classical music writer Michael Cooper says that the CSO's expansion of the ensemble to 90 members is in stark contrast to many other orchestras around the country, from Philadelphia to Atlanta, that are shedding positions to save money.

"The orchestra world is all too familiar with vicious cycles of mounting deficits, dwindling audiences, difficulty raising money and cuts," Cooper writes. "But at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, things are moving happily in the opposite direction: think crescendo, not diminuendo."

Read the full story here.
 

First Batch highlighted as one of the country's hottest design incubators


Dwell magazine has published a guide to “a few of the country's hottest design incubators,” including Cincinnati's manufacturing-focused First Batch, that it says are helping independent designers learn the basics of how to scale up and boost the local economy.
 
“While starting a company seems the scariest, figuring out how to grow and stay sustainable offers the most challenging decisions,” Matt Anthony, program manager of First Batch, says in the article. The Over-the-Rhine-based company is described as “one of the many local organizations across the United States helping designers and manufacturers build the networks, relationships and infrastructure they need to thrive.”

The article also highlights design incubators in Detroit, San Francisco and Oakland.

Read the full article here.
 

Open data making a splash in Ohio, Cincinnati


Ohio is making a name nationally for its efforts to open government records to public scrutiny.

Government Technology magazine, which provides "solutions for state and local government," published a story yesterday about a new initiative coming to Ohio's budget transparency site OhioCheckbook.com, which already offers 3,900-plus local governments — townships, cities, counties, school districts and more — a chance to place revenues and expenditures online free of charge.

The new concept rolls out in June and will allow citizens to track local government revenues and expenditures via interactive graphs, which the story says will "illustrate not only a bird's eye view of a budget but also the granular details of check-by-check spending. Highlights include top earning government contractors, highest paid officials and revenue consumption by departments."

Last month Ohio was ranked #1 in the country for financial transparency by consumer advocacy group U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), thanks to the launch of OhioCheckbook.com in late 2014. Ohio received a grade of A+ one year after getting a D-, and PIRG Senior Policy Analyst Phineas Baxandall says the new online portal looks like something one would expect from a successful tech company, not a government agency.

Back in Cincinnati, yesterday also marked the launch of the city's high-profile effort at transparency, Open Data Cincinnati.

"Open Data Cincinnati is about more than just stats, numbers and bar charts," City Manager Harry Black said in a press release announcing the online portal's launch. "This is about the City opening itself up to the people we serve on a daily basis."

Black says he wants to establish Cincinnati as a national model for using data analytics to make city government more efficient and effective.

Read the full Government Technology story here.
 
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