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.
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.
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.”