Manufacturer's Bus Tour
Ottawa County Educational Leaders
Participate in Manufacturing Tour
On Wednesday, December 4, representatives from five local school districts, three Joint Vocational Schools, and the North Point Educational Service Center joined with the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation (OCIC) and United Way in Ottawa County to tour four manufacturing companies throughout Ottawa County.
The program was designed to give school leadership and guidance counselors a first-hand look at local manufacturing operations and provide a better understanding of career paths and opportunities in the skilled trades arena.
ARES, Inc. (Port Clinton), Custom Glass Solutions by Guardian (Millbury), Materion-Brush, Inc. (Elmore), and United States Gypsum Company (Gypsum) hosted 30 participants and provided plant tours and one-on-one discussions about career opportunities in the skilled trades sector, their current and future employment needs, and the expectations employers have when looking to hire individuals.
“Skilled trade jobs are on the rise in our region and finding individuals with the education and skill sets to fill these jobs is becoming increasingly difficult,” commented Shelly Lizyness, Director of Human Resources at Materion-Brush, Inc.
“The opportunity for Materion-Brush to meet with local educators to show what our company has to offer students is critical to our company and our future workforce.”
The theme of finding qualified workers and the career opportunities locally resonated throughout the day by the companies.
The interest in better connecting education and
industry together has been something the OCIC has been working on for several years.
Recent meetings between OCIC and a special subcommittee within the United Way in Ottawa County helped to elevate the discussion and bring this program to fruition.
“The OCIC and United Way have a keen interest in developing meaningful career paths for Ottawa County residents.
There are jobs within the county and the region that are becoming more and more difficult to fill.
Industrial electricians and qualified welders are just two areas in demand,” said Jamie Beier Grant, Director of the OCIC.
“Together with the leadership of Chris Galvin, Director of United Way, and Bill St. Leger, Plant Manager at USG and current President of United Way in Ottawa County, we were able to build momentum and consensus around the need to get everyone to the table.”
Superintendents Pat Adkins (Port Clinton City Schools) and Guy Parmigian (B-C-S Schools), and Ken Williams, Director of Golf & Marketing at the Catawba Island Club also provided key support in planning the program and understanding future opportunities to connect education to the tourism and service industry.
Chris Galvin, Director of the United Way in Ottawa County noted, “Ottawa County is a diverse economy.
We need to understand and embrace that diversity and all that the community has to offer our residents and businesses alike."