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.
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:
The CEP continually updates content displayed on the 11 monitors – one at each of the five Champaign County high schools; one each at Urbana University, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and in the CEP’s office window in the center of Urbana’s downtown business district; and one each in the windows of three downtown businesses in Mechanicsburg, North Lewisburg and St. Paris.
The project is being supported by Urbana University, Ohio Hi-Point, Dayton Power & Light, FASTLANE, Darby Dental Smiles, Urbana Dental Smiles, Berry Digital Solutions and Weidmann Electrical Technology, Inc.
CEP Director Marcia Bailey said the monitors help inform students, county residents and visitors about local economic and community development growth, job opportunities, and education and workforce training. The monitors, she added, complement CEP’s partnership with local schools and manufacturers to prepare students for local career opportunities. Job openings advertised on the monitors come from the CEP’s local job posting website, Community Job Connect.
“I’m a strong believer in the education-workforce ecosystem. And the CEP is leading the way to organizing education and employers, preparing talent to meet the needs of our employers,” Christopher Washington, Executive Vice President and CEO of Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, said.
The monitors are the ideal way to deliver the information, he adds. “Kids today are digitally wired and pay attention to what’s on the screen.”
Kelsey Webb, Ohio Hi-Point Director of Communications and Marketing, said, “We’re participating because this is completely in our wheelhouse to prepare students for career or college. We’re excited to help spread the message that there are great opportunities here for students.”
Ten monitors will be placed in public areas – one each at the five Champaign County high schools; in the villages of Mechanicsburg, North Lewisburg and St. Paris; Urbana University; and Ohio Hi-Point. The monitors will be installed beginning in late August. Content shown on the monitors will be generated by the CEP.
Urbana University and Ohio Hi-Point Career Center are providing funds to purchase the monitors and associated equipment, while DP&L and FASTLANE are assisting with funding for ongoing media service to broadcast content on the monitors.
CEP Director Marcia Bailey added that Berry Digital Solutions is helping the CEP manage the project and that Weidmann Electrical Technology Inc. funded the original monitor at the CEP.
The purpose, she said, is to inform students and other county residents about local career opportunities and education and training available to prepare students for the workforce “I’m a strong believer in the education-workforce ecosystem. And the CEP is leading the way to organizing education and employers, preparing talent to meet the needs of our employers,” said Christopher Washington, executive vice president and CEO of Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University.
The monitors are the ideal way to deliver the information, he adds.
“Kids today are digitally wired and pay attention to what’s on the screen.”
Kelsey Webb, Ohio Hi-Point director of communications and marketing, said, “We’re participating because this is completely in our wheelhouse to prepare students for career or college. We’re excited to help spread the message that there are great opportunities here for students.”
Szklany says ORBIS will benefit from Zizzo’s internship. “We’ll have a new employee who has the skills we need to succeed and who understands our culture.” He adds, smiling, “and has new ideas to bring to the plant.”
Zizzo came to ORBIS endorsed by Todd Bodey, who teaches Ohio Hi-Point Career Center’s Advanced Manufacturing program, which began at Triad High School in 2015, at the start of Zizzo’s junior year.
Before going into education, Bodey worked for a variety of companies, including Honeywell Aerospace in Urbana, so he knows what manufacturers look for in employees.
Advanced manufacturing program
The Advanced Manufacturing program at Triad is a product of a manufacturing workforce partnership formed by the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP), Champaign County’s economic development agency. The CEP worked with local manufacturers to form the Champaign County Manufacturing Human Resources Council. Local schools have also been brought into the partnership to help find ways to prepare students for skilled jobs that manufacturers are having difficulty filling.
Debbie Wortman, Ohio Hi-Point’s satellite director, got involved in the partnership. She said that representatives of local manufacturers told her, “We really need to do something to create a more prepared workforce. This can’t wait.”
And that’s how the Triad Advanced Manufacturing program came to be.
Zizzo is the second Triad Advanced Manufacturing student to intern with a local manufacturer. Kaleb Kaylor interned at the Hall Company in Urbana in the summer of 2016, after graduating from Triad and before beginning studies at Wright State University.
Bodey said 52 students are enrolled this school year in the three courses offered in the Advanced Manufacturing program – Manufacturing Operations for first-year students, Computer Integrated Manufacturing for second-year students and CNC Technologies for third-year students. Next school year, the fourth year of the program, Robotics will be added to the curriculum. And the program includes introductory classes for middle school students.
Many Advanced Manufacturing students will go directly from high school to manufacturing jobs, while others like Zizzo and Kaylor will obtain additional training and education.
Champaign County’s manufacturing workforce partnership has been promoting manufacturing careers in additional ways that include:
Part of the challenge in preparing a new generation for manufacturing careers, Szklany said, is helping students and their parents “understand that modern manufacturing is a great place to build a career, and plants are driving innovation. We’ve got great, talented employees who are working with new kinds of technology all the time.”
“It’s not factory work,” adds Zizzo, who has been working in machine maintenance and programming CNC machines at ORBIS. And when he graduates from Clark State, he’ll have two career paths to choose from at ORBIS, Szklany said: preventive machine maintenance or engineering/project management.
Marcia Bailey, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, said that manufacturing jobs can provide a good living. “The Dayton Development Coalition just reported that annual manufacturing salaries in Champaign County are averaging $64,000 in the third quarter of 2017.”
Employers from Champaign and four neighboring counties are encouraged to complete an online employee benefits survey June 5-24. The survey is part of a wage and benefit study that will help employers in the participating counties benchmark their wages and benefits against county and regional averages. The study also will provide useful data to promote economic development.
Employers who complete the survey will be the first to receive a summary of the final study report in September, Marcia Bailey, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, said. The report also will include wage data for Champaign, Clark, Logan, Madison and Union Counties. The Dayton Development Coalition will provide the wage data, which is collected regularly by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., a consulting firm that supports workforce and economic development efforts.
Employers that do not complete the survey will not have access to the final report until January 2018.
Read more about the survey in the Urbana Daily Citizen.