By Matt Sanctis - Springfield News-Sun
Urbana University’s new executive vice president said Wednesday he plans to develop closer ties between the university and local businesses.
Christopher Washington was named executive vice president of Urbana University last month after former President George Lucas resigned. Washington said Wednesday the university will play a more active role in the region and will develop deeper ties with area businesses, particularly in fields like manufacturing.
“We have to offer programs of study that are relevant to the surrounding community,” Washington said.
Washington is taking over at a time when Urbana University will shift to a branch campus of Franklin University. Franklin acquired the Champaign County campus in 2014 after Urbana University faced years of lean enrollment and financial struggles. As part of the deal, Urbana now functions as a division of Franklin but retains its name. Franklin is a private, nonprofit institution based in Columbus.
Read more at SpringfieldNewsSun.com
The Champaign Economic Partnership website, launched about a year ago, will be updated early next year with more resources to help businesses locate and expand in Champaign County, said CEP Director Marcia Bailey. The CEP was designated Champaign County’s economic development agency in July 2015.
The CEP website, CEPOhio.com, will expand listings of available commercial land and buildings, information on economic development incentives and the CEP’s “playbook,” which is currently in development.
The playbook, expected to be completed early next year, will serve business developers as a resource guide through the process of beginning or expanding a business in Champaign County. The playbook will include information about the local and state resources critical to business success as well as contact information for these resources.
“As the economic development agency serving all of Champaign County, the CEP serves as the starting point for local business development,” Bailey said. “We will offer businesses our economic development playbook as an easy-to-use resource to help smooth the planning process and prevent missing any key steps along the way.”
CEP newsletter published
More details about the CEP playbook and other economic development news can be found in the CEP’s recently published fall newsletter, CEP Developments, the third quarterly edition of the publication, which launched in spring 2016. The newsletter can be accessed on the “news” tab of CEPOhio.com, and. visitors can subscribe to receive the newsletter by email.
Among other news covered in the latest edition: New local businesses; Manufacturing Day activities coordinated by the CEP and local manufacturers and schools to present high school students career opportunities in manufacturing; the CEP’s and local manufacturers’ display at the Champaign County Fair; and the Inventors Camp at the Champaign Family YMCA, where local manufacturers provided campers a taste of manufacturing.
Manufacturing careers have been a key focus of the CEP, as manufacturers locally and across the country are having difficulty filling skilled job openings.
Several workforce training initiatives have resulted from CEP’s partnership with manufacturers and local schools:
Ohio Hi-Point Career Center’s advanced manufacturing program at Triad Local Schools and other Hi-Point satellite programs at Champaign County schools
New manufacturing and engineering programs at Clark State Community College
Urbana University looking at new workforce training opportunities
Development of training to help the existing workforce update skills to remain competitive
Job shadowing, internships and factory tours to expose local students to manufacturing careers
“Workforce initiatives like these are vital to current employers and will help us attract new businesses to Champaign County,” Bailey said. “Businesses are more likely to move to communities with a well-trained workforce.”
Ohio economic development newsletter
Champaign County and the CEP received prominent coverage in the November edition of the Ohio Economic Development Association’s Dateline newsletter. The article featured the continuing growth of the county’s largest employer, KTH Parts Industries, and the CEP’s role in helping KTH gain approval of a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) application.
The CRA agreement grants KTH a 50 percent, 15-year real estate tax exemption on the company’s latest construction project, a 128,950-square-foot expansion expected to cost $6.7 million. As part of the agreement, KTH also pledges to add 20 new full-time jobs.
The company has experienced massive growth since opening in 1985. KTH started with 195 full-time associates in a 239,122-square-foot facility and now employs 914 full-time permanent and 223 temporary associates, who make automobile subassemblies in a 1,110,448-square-foot complex.
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.
>>DETAILS: Champaign County sees growth in manufacturing
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.
First Posted on UrbanaCitizen.com: March 10th, 2016
Chairman Dr. David R. Decker has announced the appointment of Marcia Bailey to the Urbana University Board of Trustees.
Bailey is director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, a collaborative regional economic development agency of Champaign County and the city of Urbana. She is board president of the Monument Square District, which supports the city’s central business district, and she serves on other local and regional boards. An alumna of Urbana University, she earned her B.S. in Social Sciences from Urbana in 1995. She is a Triad graduate, mother of three adult sons and married to Ned Bailey.
“I am proud of Urbana/Champaign County and proud to call it home,” she said. “I am both elated and honored to serve my alma mater as a member of the board of trustees. The university is a tremendous resource for our region and is on a path for growth and long-term sustainability. It’s an exciting time to become more deeply involved with the university and I am looking forward to the opportunities ahead.”
“I am very pleased that Marcia has joined the board,” Decker said. “Along with her perspective as a graduate, she also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of the local and regional business and industry to the board and will deepen and extend the productive relationship between Urbana University and the region it serves.”
Submitted by Urbana University