ST. MARYS — A group of local educators and employers teamed up on Monday night to provide an opportunity for area residents to learn about local job opportunities and the ways to obtain the skills needed to be successful.
The open house was the latest effort to bridge the gap between the number of job opportunities available and the number of skilled workers in the area.
“For residents to have a better understanding of the opportunities that are available in our region,” Organizer Angela Hamberg said of why the open house was held.
The open house, held at Tri Star Career Compact in St. Marys, brought in several area manufacturers and educators to discuss their opportunities. Attendees of the open house first spoke with several local companies, including Minster Machine, Crown, Omni, AAP and Randall Bearings.
Human Resources Manager Mary Dupes said the event was a good opportunity for exposure for her employer, Randall Bearings.
“We’re hoping to get exposure to prospective students to let them know that these programs prepare them for job openings that we have,” Dupes said.
Dupes noted that Randall Bearings has experienced growth and is in need of more skilled workers.
“This year has been very busy for us,” she said. “We struggled to find people. We’re always looking for more people.”
Crown Personnel Director Pete Falk said Crown also has a number of job opportunities available because of growth.
“It’s largely because of growth,” Falk said of Crown’s employment openings.
“We’re very vertically integrated, and we’ve got a wide range of career opportunities.”
Falk noted that the work with area educators has been beneficial.
“We’ve worked with the schools to develop a curriculum,” he said. “The schools have been very open in asking what skills are needed.”
After visiting with representatives from area manufacturers, attendees obtained information on the skills they can obtain through programs at Apollo Career Center, Upper Valley Career Center, Rhodes State College and Wright State University.
Julie Miller, of the Wright State University Business Enterprise Center, said the college is working to make its curriculum fit the needs of the area.
“We see a need to change our programs to fill a need,” she said.
The Lake Campus offers courses in robotics and manufacturing among others. Miller said officials at Wright State University know the importance of manufacturing jobs to the area.
“We’re here as support to say manufacturing jobs are important,” she said. “There are good paying jobs available, you just need to get the available training.”
Miller noted that the Lake Campus also offers a weekend MBA program for those interested in taking their career to another level.
“It brings another level of choice to the community,” Miller said of the weekend program.
Attendees were also informed of an additional educational opportunity. Starting in January, a 10-week course in welding will be offered at Tri Star and a 10-week course in CNC will be offered at either Rhodes State College, Apollo Career Center, Vantage Career Center or Upper Valley Career Center. Hamberg noted that there are several opportunities available for financial assistance.
“There are opportunities for seat sponsorship, and for those not eligible for seat sponsorship, they can go through financial aid,” she said, noting that to be eligible for seat sponsorship, potential students must pass a drug screen and prove critical thinking skills.
Hamberg noted that coordination with several area businesses has been beneficial in creating a curriculum.
“Getting their input gave us an understanding of the curriculum needed,” she said. “They’ve been an integral part.”
The event was possible through the coordination of Hamberg, the Southwestern Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce, Wright State University, Rhodes State College, Upper Valley Career Center, Tri Star Career Compact and New Bremen Guidance Counselor Tricia Wendel.