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.”
Ashley Cook, Ohio Hi-Point’s new supply chain management instructor at Urbana High School, will serve as the business liaison 10 hours a week. She will coordinate activities that bring educators, students and manufacturers together.
Cook, who will report to Bailey in her role as business liaison, is an Urbana High School graduate and in 2016 received a bachelor’s in organizational leadership from Wright State University. Before becoming supply chain management instructor, she recruited students from 14 partner schools for Ohio Hi-Point’s main campus in Bellefontaine, launched the school’s first online application and led Hi-Point’s Student Ambassador program.
“Ashley will visit manufacturers to see what their workforce needs are, and she’ll be going to the schools to help make sure their curriculum is where it needs to be to prepare students for career opportunities,” Deb Wortman, Ohio Hi-Point satellite director, said.
Cook adds that she will help manufacturers spread the word to schools about internships and job shadowing opportunities, advertise open positions, and help coordinate job fairs, open houses and other activities where students can learn about career opportunities in local manufacturing.
In her roles as instructor and business liaison, Cook said, “I look forward to being in the business world and working with students to prepare them for successful careers.”
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.”
By Christopher Selmek, Urbana Daily Citizen Staff Writer
A Fastlane survey of Champaign County manufacturing engineers and their employers reveal that more than 4,000 county residents are employed in manufacturing and that the average wage for county manufacturing employees is $64,000 a year.
This information was presented to around 30 representatives of area manufacturing companies and their allies in education and government who attended a breakfast hosted by the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) at the County Community Center on Wednesday.
According to the slideshow presented by county Economic Director Marcia Bailey, the purpose of the Manufacturing Human Resources Council is to provide education and awareness to the community and public schools regarding manufacturing opportunities in Champaign County.
"Our HR council started about 6 years ago, and we said this is what our goal was going to be, and we've stayed at this goal, and we're starting to see how much change actually has happened in the perception of what manufacturing is about," Bailey said. "That's what this is all about, changing that perception."
In the 3 years since we've joined the partnership, the excitement from the manufacturing industry in particular has been just overwhelming, and there's so much potential," said Todd Michael, president of the Champaign Economic Partnership. "It used to be that the goal was to bring in more manufacturing or more businesses, but it's just as important to have employees and to have educated employees. So it's chicken and the egg and we're trying to bring both simultaneously for good, steady, structured growth.
Mostly Men in Local Manufacturing Jobs
Bailey noted that the male-to-female ratio of employees is unbalanced, but that some area manufacturers like Sarica Manufacturing like to have female employees because of the intricate nature of the work and because female hands are smaller.
"Ninety percent of our engineers are males so we keep telling the young females you have a great opportunity in Champaign County to become engineers in manufacturing," she said. "We need more females in manufacturing. It's also important that the students understand that this is the income you can make as an engineer in manufacturing in Champaign County, $37 to almost $41 an hour, which is not chump change. We're trying to get as much of this out as possible and really appreciate Fastlane for gathering this information."
Within the last several years there has been an increase in workers ages 19-24 at county manufacturing companies, and Bailey said she hopes this number increases. Part of the CEP's outreach to area youth has included a YMCA camp called "Inventor's Workshop," in which area manufacturers lead children ages 6-12 in projects such as building Lego block towers and transistor radios.
Other outreach efforts include a booth at the Champaign County Fair and the annual Manufacturing Day event, held last Friday, in which high school students toured local manufacturing companies.
"Everything that's around as of today was made by someone, and it's just amazing to learn that," Bailey said.
Near the end of the breakfast, the county commissioners presented proclamations to several of the company representatives, thanking them for their service to the community.
"I just want to say thank you to all the companies and manufacturers and businesses that are represented here and those who might not have been able to make it," said Commissioner Steve Hess. "You guys are a big part of the engine that drives this county, so thank you for all your contributions to the community and all that you do. Keep up the good work."
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The Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) is partnering with FASTLANE to help Champaign County manufacturers recruit and retain engineers. The partnership created two online surveys to be completed in April – one by engineers employed by the manufacturers and the other by the companies’ human resource directors.