The lab, which was delivered to Marion Technical College in Union County late last year, will be on display throughout much of the day at Triad during the job fair. The project’s primary goal is to provide a mobile training area for manufacturing firms throughout the region, Bailey said. In Champaign County, companies like KTH Parts Industries, Inc., Rittal and Bundy Baking Solutions contributed to the project, Bailey said.
“It’s meant to be shared with those employers for incumbent worker training,” Bailey said.
But it can also be used to give local students hands-on experience to encourage them to take a closer look at careers in the industry.
Technical colleges in Central Ohio submitted a proposal for a state grant several years ago to fund a portion of the project, said Robert Haas, chief strategy officer at MTC. The partners combined that grant and various other funding sources to pay for the lab.
One reason it took several years to get the lab running was manufacturers throughout the region were asked to provide input on the kinds of equipment the lab should offer. Instead of training equipment, it was clear the companies wanted real equipment typically used in a manufacturing environment, he said.
The lab includes a CNC milling machine, six control units at which students can learn to program the mill, room for nine students and an instructor and enough power to allow some electrical training. The training can be customized to a business’ needs.
“They tried to make it as broad as they could to cover different types of industries,” Bailey said. “The Hall company might not do robotic welding but they may have a need for CNC.”
Faculty from MTC will be able to provide the training, or companies with qualified staff can conduct the training on their own. Haas said the goal now is to make businesses more aware of the lab. He estimated it will be used for training about 80 percent of the time with the rest used to promote manufacturing careers for students.
“It’s meant to be an asset that can be used across the state, not just the Marion area,” Haas said.
The lab will be on hand at Triad most of the day on Tuesday. A job fair open to high school seniors in Champaign County will take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the high school. A second job fair, open to the general public, will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the high school.
The Springfield News-Sun will continue to provide unmatched coverage of jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign Counties. For this story, the paper previewed a job fair scheduled at Triad High School and explained how a new mobile lab will be used to train local workers.
If you go:
What: Two job fairs at Triad High School
Where: 8099 Brush Lake Roa, Woodstock
What: A job fair open to high school seniors in Champaign County, followed by a separate job fair for area residents.
When: A job fair for local students will take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the high school. A second job fair, open to the general public, will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the high school.
“The zoning right now is for manufacturing,” Bailey said. “But we’re looking at whether it would make better sense on the east side to make it more of a mixed use environment because there would be space for retail, offices and manufacturing combined if that was the need.”
Once complete, Bailey said the complicated project will remove a property that was a nuisance to the city and local first responders. Once redeveloped, the goal is to use the property to attract more jobs and investment to the city. The abandoned Q3 site at Miami and Beech streets has been an eyesore in Urbana for years, creating concerns about safety, vandalism and drug use on the property. In 2015, a fire destroyed much of the building.
City officials took control of the property under the conditions that overdue taxes were cleared off the books and funding was secured to perform necessary demolition and clean up contamination at the site. The process to acquire the site and secure the necessary funding was a lengthy process, but once the work was underway, the project moved forward fairly quickly, said Kerry Brugger, director of administration for Urbana.
“The bulk of the demolition, the buildings that are going to come down, for the most part are down,” Brugger said. “They’re working on slab removal, and they’ll finish up and (do) soil remediation that needs to be completed.”
There is work left to do on the existing buildings on the site that will remain there. The city contracted with True Inspection Services, an Urbana-based developer, to clean up and redevelop the site. Other partners included Honeywell, with whom the city contracted to clean soil on the rear west side of the site.
Once the work is complete, the city will seek a Covenant Not to Sue from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. That designation will show the site is cleaned up and in good condition, a key to allowing the city to eventually transfer the property.
True Inspection Services will initially take over part of the property once the work is complete and work with the CEP to find candidates to occupy the site. The company is also renovating the remaining buildings for office space or warehouse space by next year.
“We anticipate the cleanup and remediation part of the project should be done in the next eight weeks,” said Joe Timm, vice president for True Inspection Services.
There are prospective tenants for the property, Timm said, but he declined to disclose them because the project is still months from completion. He said the company had previous experience renovating the former Buckles Motors dealership and converting it to office space and warehousing. Finishing the Q3 project will provide several benefits to the city, he said.
“It will add some jobs to the community and increase the tax base,” Timm said. “It will definitely be good for the community, along with getting rid of an eyesore.”
By Matt Sanctis - Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
Nursing and truck driving are the most in demand jobs in the region that includes Clark and Champaign counties, with jobs in retail also near the top of the list, according to a state report.
The report from OhioMeansJobs provides a snapshot of online job ads posted in a one-month period for six different Ohio regions. It provides an indication of the most in-demand occupations and a list of regional employers doing most of the hiring in a given area.
The results were not a surprise, said Amy Donahoe, director of hiring and employer services for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. She said many companies, both locally and nationally, continue to struggle to find and retain qualified truck drivers.
Clark State Community College has a program to train drivers for the industry, she said, and the chamber is working with partners to find better ways to promote in-demand jobs in the region.
“We do recognize there is a need there and Clark State has a great program,” Donahoe said. “We also need to figure out how to engage the schools so they can help educate students about it becoming an option for them. If parents understand what kinds of opportunities there are and what kind of pay is involved, it’s a good place for some graduates to start.”
The report showed a total of 16,658 online job openings from Jan. 14 to Feb. 13 this year for a region that includes, Clark, Champaign, Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties.That’s an increase of about 700 job postings compared to the same time last year, and an increase of about 1,300 postings from the previous reporting period.
Kettering Medical Center was the highest number of job ads in the region with just more than 1,000 ads, the report says. Mercy Health, the biggest employer in Springfield, was also near the top of the list with 131 postings.
The report shows a little less than half the ads posted, about 44 percent, require at least an Associate’s degree. About 30 percent required a high school diploma or GED only and about 23 percent required a Bachelor’s degree.
In Champaign County, local officials have developed Community Job Connect, an online job site specifically for Champaign County businesses and residents. Many of the ads posted on that site include construction and manufacturing positions.
“Every employer is using every mechanism available to them to find employees,” said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign Economic Partnership.
With a low unemployment rate, Donahoe said industries such as retail will likely continue to see a gap between the number of applicants and available jobs as workers look for higher-paying work.
“When other businesses are hiring, you see a lot of people from retail go into manufacturing for instance,” Donahoe said of entry-level positions. “The pay could be a little more at times and sometimes it’s just equal. But there are also greater opportunities for upward mobility.”
The Springfield News-Sun provides award-winning coverage of jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent stories tracking local unemployment rates and expansions at Topre America and Silfex.
By the numbers:
16,665 — Online job ads from Jan. 14 to Feb. 13 in the region that include Clark and Champaign counties
1,305 — Increase in job ads from previous reporting period
722 — Increase in job ads compared to same time last year
44.5 percent — Jobs requiring an Associate’s degree
Source: Ohio Means Jobs