By working together during and after Manufacturing Day, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.”
For the past five years, local leaders, manufacturers and education institutions have come together on Manufacturing Day to celebrate the county’s ever-growing manufacturing sector and to introduce high school students to the job opportunities available in their own back yard.
In honor of Manufacturing Day 2016, the Champaign County Ohio Manufacturing Human Resources Council with assistance from the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) hosted an event Friday in which dozens of students from Urbana, Mechanicsburg, Graham and Triad high schools were introduced to the following manufacturers: Honeywell Aerospace, WEIDMANN, Bundy Baking Solutions, Rittal, ORBIS, The Hall Company and KTH Parts Industries.
The event consisted of three sessions – a morning tour, a presentation period/lunch at the Urbana University Student Center, and an afternoon tour.
“Our community is fortunate to have the welcoming environment from the local manufacturers,” CEP Economic Development Director Marcia Bailey said. “They are anxious to showcase their products, explain the skills needed to work in today’s manufacturing environment, and offer time for the students to have a true hands-on learning experience.
“We are also fortunate to have our local school systems (local school districts, Ohio Hi-Point and Urbana University) that want the students to have the opportunity to visit and learn more about the various career options that are available to them in manufacturing,” she added.
During Friday’s two tour sessions, Triad students visited Rittal, ORBIS Corporation and WEIDMANN; Mechanicsburg students went to Bundy Baking Solutions and Honeywell Aerospace; Urbana students toured The Hall Company and WEIDMANN; and Graham students stopped by Honeywell Aerospace and Rittal.
Graham Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said Manufacturing Day ties in well with the district’s Career Gears program, which focuses on the three “E’s” – enlistment, enrollment and employment.
“It provides a great opportunity for our younger students to learn about careers close to home in a variety of settings to spark their personal interests and to help them set goals,” he said. “We applaud our community partners for helping us provide these important examples and for building relationships with our students.”
At Mechanicsburg High School, Superintendent Danielle Prohaska said the district’s participation in Manufacturing Day helps support its increased focus this school year on the three “E’s.”
“We also believe that partnerships throughout the county will provide additional connections, skills development, and employment opportunities for our students,” she added. “Our involvement is important in growing those partnerships. “We want our students to make connections with manufacturers and leave school prepared for employment, enlistment or enrollment.”
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.
By Michael Cooper, Springfield News Sun
Champaign County has a growing need for skilled labor at local plants as many in the workforce prepares for retirement, which is why county leaders and local manufacturers teamed up Friday to reach out high school students.
About 100 high school students attended Manufacturing Day at Urbana University on Friday, held annually by the Champaign Economic Partnership. The event aims to educate students about the manufacturers located in the community, their products and the skills needed for employment, Economic Development Director Marcia Bailey said.
Champaign County has about 3,725 manufacturing jobs, Bailey said, up from about 2,900 in 2013.
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However a majority of the local manufacturing workforce has neared retirement age, including many who at the higher-end of the pay scale, Bailey said. About 49 percent of local manufacturing employees are between 45 and 64 years old, while just 3 percent are between the ages of 19 and 24, she said.
“We need these students, this younger workforce to fill the positions that will need to be filled,” Bailey said. “It’s a huge, huge issue.”
The average annual earnings of a manufacturing worker is about $66,000 in Champaign County, she said. “You don’t find those kind of jobs immediately, but you start working your way up,” Bailey said.
The students toured several manufacturing facilities and participated in an interactive workshop Friday with companies such as KTH, Honeywell and the Hall Co. among others. It’s the third manufacturing education event held in Champaign County this year.
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Rittal, which makes metal enclosures for industrial and information technology systems, also held tours for local students, Benefits Specialist-Human Resources Michele Mandelik said.
“A lot of them said, ‘We didn’t even know you were here,’” Mandelik said.
The company has several employees with 10 and 20 years of experience retiring in coming years, she said, and will need skilled employees to take their place.
“When they leave, we’re losing that experience, so we want to transfer that experience to new hires,” Mandelik said.
A group of sophomores from Graham High School toured the Honeywell plant on Friday morning, said Ali Peterson, who runs the career-based intervention and career connections program through the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center. The program helps students create both academic and career goals, some of which include manufacturing and aviation.
“It was a highlight for them,” Peterson said. “It gave them some different options than they had previously considered and allowed to do some networking with them as well.”
Each student has a different plan for the future, she said, which doesn’t always include college. Some students are encouraged to go to a career technical center or a trade school.
“It will help them succeed and make them employable for years to come past graduation or that first job,” Peterson said.
Students need to be as employable as possible before leaving high school, especially in light of state and national unemployment statistics, Mechanicsburg High School Teacher Kurt Forrest said. Many students complete four years of college, but sometimes can’t find a job in their field and are left with thousands of dollars in debt.
“We need to make sure every single kid has a plan that fits that individual,” Forrest said. “When you do that you’re going to set them up for success.”
Education is still vitally important, Bailey said. Students can also enroll in college while they’re still a high school student through Ohio Hi-Point, she said.
“It’s not just one path, there are many paths,” Bailey said.
The tour at Rittal was a great experience, Triad High School freshman Daniel Lake said.
“I learned a lot just walking through the factory,” Lake said. “It’s a place I might be interested in after leaving high school. … (Manufacturing) is just a high-demand field. There are so many things you can apply the skills you learn for it, too.”
By the numbers
3,725: Manufacturing jobs in Champaign County
49: Percentage of manufacturing employees ages 45-64
3: Percentage of manufacturing employees ages 19-24
Source: Champaign Economic Partnership
The Springfield News-Sun provides complete coverage of jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent stories on monthly unemployment statistics and expansions at Navistar.
Urbana native and third generation business owner Kyle Hall has been appointed to the Clark State Community College Board of Trustees by Governor John Kasich.
Hall serves as president of the Hall Company where he oversees all facets of day-to-day operations, company strategies, developing and executing short- and long-term plans, finances, key customer relationships and hiring decisions.
“Kyle Hall brings excellent industry and management expertise that will serve our students, and his skill set truly complements our Board. We are pleased to have board representation from Champaign County,” said Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin.
Hall said he is excited to be part of the Clark State Board of Trustees and looks forward to giving back to the community. “I think if you are in a position where you are able to run a company and be a leader in a community, you need to give something back,” he said. “I like to focus on things that I think I can benefit.”
The Hall Company is a global, technology-based firm that provides switches, controls and overlays for a variety of industries including medical devices.
“I’m excited by the steps Clark State has taken to partner with manufacturers and offer a wide curriculum of skills to help improve manufacturing,” said Hall.
Hall currently also serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hall Company and is a member of the Champaign County Manufacturing Council. He previously served on the board for the Dayton Development Coalition, Urbana Lions Club and the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. He holds a bachelor of science in marketing from Wright State University.
“I believe firmly that it’s important for people to better themselves through education,” said Hall. “There is a need in the workforce for additional skills and education that Clark State is very well suited to help with, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”