Caty Shoemaker, seated at center, signs her employment contract as an intern at ORBIS in Urbana. Seated at left is her manager, Laura Reed, materials manager, and seated at right is Shoemaker’s fiancé, Sam McGill. Standing from left are Dan Szklany, ORBIS plant manager; Maegan O’Connor, human resources representative; Tom Walker, scheduler; Sharon Cook, buyer/planner; Shelley Fuller, plant scheduler; Julie McGill, Sam McGill’s mother; Judy and Rodney McGill, McGill’s aunt and uncle; Cindy and Perry Shoemaker, Shoemaker’s parents; Jill O’Neal, Caty Shoemaker’s sister; Dean Ortlieb, Urbana fire chief and a cousin of the Shoemaker family; Karen Chuvalas of Urbana University; Ashley Cook, business liaison of the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP); and CEP Director Marcia Bailey.
The Orbis manufacturing facility in Urbana held a May 10 signing ceremony for an Urbana University senior who has begun a scheduling and purchasing internship at the company, which makes reusable plastic containers, pallets, dunnage and bulk systems for industrial customers.
Caty Shoemaker, a West Liberty-Salem High School graduate who will graduate in December from Urbana University, was joined for the signing ceremony by ORBIS leaders, representatives of the university and Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP), and family members, including her sister Jill O’Neal, a former member of the ORBIS team and now human resources operations manager at Weidmann Electrical Technology in Urbana and a member of the CEP Board.
The ceremony, patterned after signing ceremonies that colleges conduct for new student athletes, was coordinated with ORBIS by Ashley Cook, business liaison of the CEP.
Shoemaker is majoring in strategic management and minoring in accounting and marketing at Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University.
Karen Chuvalas, business development manager of the university’s UrbanaWORKS program, said that Christopher Washington, executive vice president and CEO of the university, is developing relationships with local companies to establish internships and co-ops. He wants all students to complete an internship or co-op before graduating.
Bundy Baking Solutions held a signing ceremony a week before for three local students who have joined their workforce.
Brock Bennett recently graduated from Ohio-Hi Point and will become a TIG welder at Shaffer Manufacturing, a division of Bundy Baking Solutions. Brock said he did a three-month internship with Shaffer over his summer break. He learned about the opportunity when his class took a field trip there and performed some welding practice. He will become a full-time welder, which aligns with his career ambitions. He said that after a year he may attend the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology to increase his fabrication skills.
His sister, Lexis, found out about the internship opportunity as a graphic designer in Bundy’s marketing department through her faculty advisor at Clark State University. She has been working for Bundy’s almost a year and said she enjoys it and anticipated being offered a job. She graduated May 4.
“The environment is very relaxed,” she said. “They offer great benefits. Everyone is very nice, very polite. It’s unlike anywhere I’ve worked. Everybody is just amazing here.”
Whitt will soon graduate from Graham High School, after which she will become a press operator for American Pan. She said she discovered the opportunity when Bundy’s human resources representative, Nancee Starkey, visited her career connections class. Whitt was impressed by the opportunities for advancement and said she is planning to stay with the company while completing a degree part time at Sinclair Community College.
Business Liaison Ashley Cook said that the Champaign Economic Partnership’s Manufacturing Council worked closely with Bundy Baking Solutions to build a partnership that markets job opportunities to area students.
Key development projects
Thanks to economic development investments by private businesses working with the CEP, Urbana – for the first time ever – ranked 41st in the Site Selection magazine’s 2017 list of top U.S. micropolitan communities.
Recent successes include the new Navistar distribution center, Memorial Health’s medical building, expansion of Weidmann Electrical Technology, opening of Nutrien Ag Solutions, Sutphen Corporation’s new Service, Parts and Refurbishment Center, expansion of Old Souls Farms hydroponic operations, expansion of Advanced Technology Products and purchase of the former Robert Rothschild Farm property.
Champaign County manufacturing jobs have grown from under 3,000 jobs in 2013 to nearly 4,000 in 2018.
Major projects for 2019 include:
The CEP is partnering with schools and businesses in numerous ways to help make sure Champaign County has the skilled workforce required by new and expanding businesses.
Results of these partnerships include:
For more information, call the CEP at 937-653-7200 or browse CEPOhio.com.
Makes good use of vacant building
Workforce development is a major focus of the CEP, she said. Following are examples of how the CEP and its partners are strengthening the local workforce:
Business Liaison Ashley Cook, who teaches Ohio Hi-Point Career Center’s Supply Chain Management program at Urbana High School, coordinates activities that bring schools, students and businesses together throughout Champaign County. This includes job fairs, in-school presentations by businesses and spreading the word about internships, job shadowing opportunities and job openings.
Nancee Starkey, human resources generalist at Bundy Baking Solutions, said that Cook helped her set up presentations at Graham, Urbana and Triad high schools. She added that a few Graham seniors are working second shift at Bundy while they finish their studies.
Ruhe added that Triad High School graduate Zack Zizzo, who was in the Ohio Hi-Point Advanced Manufacturing program, is now working at Orbis as a paid intern while he completes the two-year mechanical engineering technology program at Clark State Community College – with tuition assistance from Orbis. He will continue working at Orbis after he graduates in June.
Ruhe said that Orbis met Zizzo at a local Manufacturing Day event where he presented a 3D printing project he worked on at Triad.
Also, Urbana University is working with employers to:
Champaign County businesses are struggling to find enough qualified, skilled employees to fill job openings. And local students need the education and skills to prepare for these in-demand career opportunities.
Local business and school representatives are working together to address both sides of this equation through the Champaign Business Advisory Council (BAC). The BAC complements workforce development efforts of the Champaign Economic Partnership, CEP Director Marcia Bailey said.
The Champaign-Madison Educational Service Center (ESC) formed the BAC about three years ago when a new state law called for school districts to form BACs, to build relationships between businesses and schools. The local BAC includes representatives of the five county school districts, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, the ESC, local businesses, and Ashley Cook, business liaison for the CEP.
Businesses active in the BAC are primarily in manufacturing, but the BAC is inviting more types of businesses to get involved, said Jill O’Neal, a BAC member and human resources manager for Weidmann Electrical Technology in Urbana.
“We welcome more business leaders to attend to provide their input in local workforce needs and how to enhance school curriculum to prepare students,” O’Neal said.
Scott DeLong, president of Champaign Residential Services Inc. (CRSI), has become an active member. He wants to help address the need for qualified job candidates in human services and health care. “I’m excited about the work we’re doing, and hopefully we can keep more students in the community after graduation.”
The BAC meets quarterly, with 2019 meetings scheduled at 1 p.m.
June 26 at Bundy Baking Solutions, Sept. 5 at Champaign Residential Services Inc. and Dec. 5 at Graham High School.
O’Neal said that the BAC includes three active subcommittees: · Business Relations, to strengthen the working relationship between businesses and schools · Workforce Development, to address current and future workforce needs in the county · Curriculum Development, to develop educational programs in local schools to prepare students for in-demand careers after graduation Dan Kaffenbarger, ESC superintendent, said, “The BAC creates a line of communication and collaboration between the schools and businesses.
Our short-term goal is to inform older students about job opportunities in the county. For the longer term, we’re looking at middle school and early high school students, to help them develop soft skills (such as work ethic and critical thinking) and provide curriculum that will give them the competitive advantage that employers are looking for.”
Businesses leaders interested in learning more about the BAC may call Kaffenbarger at the ESC, 937-484-1557.