When recruiting for jobs that require specialized skills, employers compete for a limited pool of qualified candidates. Ohio’s Registered Apprenticeship program, available locally through OhioMeansJobs Champaign County (OMJCC), helps employers overcome this challenge and build their skilled workforce from within.
“It’s probably the best way to supply employers a pipeline of reliable, skilled employees,” says Andrea Mitchell, business services representative of OMJCC.
Through the Registered Apprenticeship program employers provide proven, valued employees the opportunity to learn new skills through structured on-the-job training that meets industry standards, aligned with technical instruction from an approved school – all while getting paid. “Apprentices earn a livable wage as they learn,” Mitchell says.
The Rittal North America facility in Urbana currently has three employees enrolled in the apprenticeship program, with a fourth possibly beginning in early 2021, says Dan Yohey, quality engineer and manager of apprenticeships at Rittal.
Rittal has one industrial engineering apprentice, David Vanderveen, an assembler with the company for six years, and two maintenance technician apprentices, Billy Warren and Malik Tanksley, who have been at Rittal for less than two years.
Vanderveen started his apprenticeship in late February 2020, and Warren and Tanksley, in late May 2020. All three are enrolled in 8,000-hour/four-year programs at Clark State Community College, with which Rittal has previously partnered with for internships. The length of apprenticeships varies by industry and occupation.
The apprentices are completing on-the-job training under the supervision of mentors, who are among 10 Rittal engineers, managers and senior technicians who completed mentorship training developed for Rittal by Clark State.
The Registered Apprenticeship program is employer-driven. This means, says Mitchell, that employers:
After developing its apprenticeship training program, in partnership with Clark State and OMJCC, Rittal took the plan to the Greater Ohio Workforce Development Board, Inc. (GOWBI) for approval and certification. As the apprenticeship sponsor, GOWBI conducts audits and other administrative services on behalf of Rittal.
In addition to benefitting the company and apprentices, Yohey says, “The apprenticeship program sends a message to the rest of the workforce in the plant that, based on the success of these individuals, that we’re walking the walk and offering career advancement opportunities at Rittal—not just longevity. It boosts morale.”
The apprenticeships also benefit the mentors, Frost says. Serving as mentors “is their next progression on that ladder of moving up…. You invest the time and money to send them through the training, and it says, ‘We trust you, and you’re on your way up.’”
Apprenticeships increase employee retention rates, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And they reduce the time invested in recruiting skilled employees – in competition with other employers – and orienting them to the culture, products and processes of a new workplace.
“It’s a lot easier to develop your skilled workforce rather than competing with other companies and bringing them in from the outside,” Yohey said. “It’s pretty competitive right now. The need for technicians and engineers, it’s pretty cutthroat.”
Frost adds, “When we onboard a new engineer, we look at from six to 12 weeks before they bring any value, just because they’re trying to learn what we do. When we bring up somebody from in the company, the learning curve is so much less, and we can get right to the technical aspects of their training. They’re instantly bringing some value.”
To learn more about the Registered Apprenticeship program, call OhioMeansJobs Champaign County at 937-484-1581. OMJCC is available to provide employers presentations – onsite or virtually – about the Registered Apprenticeship program and other OMJCC workforce training services.
The building has been vacant for over 10 years.
“We’re going to see new work, new life, new employees in this building,” said Champaign Economic Partnership Director Marcia Bailey.
Securing the building and cleaning up the site took the team effort of private and public partnerships like the City of Urbana, the Champaign Economic Partnership and True Inspection Services, LLC, a full-service commercial inspection, engineering and construction management company.
TIS is now the owner of 12.6 of the 20 acre site, including the building. TIS Executive Vice President Joe Timm said three tenants will move into the building after its restoration – TIS, Community Health and Wellness Partners out of Logan County and The Door Shop, which is a commercial door company.
Project partners hope that after the work is completed, other investors will be drawn to build on space behind the building and part of the site’s acreage on the other side of the bike path.
The JMC project piggybacks off of the ongoing development of the FC Legacy Place senior living project that will transform the former North and South elementary schools and the Douglas Inn into affordable senior housing.
“We’re kind of looking at this as the anchor client or anchor site for helping redevelop this whole neighborhood,” Timm said.
Construction bids for the project will go out soon, and the businesses are expected to move in by fall 2021.
Three Businesses to Move in Next Fall
Once work is completed, TIS – a minority-owned, full-service commercial inspection, engineering and construction management company – will occupy the building’s second floor, moving from its current South Main Street location.
Community Health & Wellness Partners (CHWP), which offers a full range of primary medical care including behavioral health services in Bellefontaine, Indian Lake and West Liberty, will open a newly approved Urbana location on the first floor of 605 Miami St. by late fall 2021. The Health Resource Service Administration has also granted CHWP approval to open a school-based health center in West Liberty-Salem Schools in early 2021, CHWP President/CEO Tara Bair said.
The third business – The Door Shop, a commercial door and hardware distributor – will have light manufacturing and warehouse operations at the site.
The former Q3 JMC building is the fourth major vacant structure in Urbana to be given a new lease on life this fall. It joins the Douglas Hotel and the former Urbana North and South Elementary Schools, which are being restored and renovated for FC Legacy Place, a total of 51 affordable senior apartments.
“Both projects have moved forward thanks to strong public-private partnerships, of government and business working together to obtain the necessary funding and provide the expertise to bring plans to reality,” said Marcia Bailey, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP), Champaign County’s economic development agency.
Bailey credits the Champaign County Board of Revision for helping set the wheels in motion for the Q3 JMC project when it approved in 2015 the City of Urbana’s request to obtain the property free of unpaid back property taxes and other encumbrances after no one bid on the property at a sheriff’s sale.
The city took ownership of the 20-acre site in 2017, said Doug Crabill, community development manager who has managed the project for the city. After that the city pursued redevelopment of the property, to clear it of contamination and prepare it for development by new owners.
Bailey assisted the city in reaching an agreement with TIS, the city’s development partner, to oversee the site cleanup and redevelopment. “They were the only company that came forward with interest in renovating the building and turning the brownfield into a greenfield for business development,” Bailey said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to find an end user for the property because of the contamination that had to be removed.”
On behalf of TIS, Bailey wrote an application for a JobsOhio Site Redevelopment Pilot Program grant to help fund the work.
JobsOhio, encouraged by the number of community partners involved, awarded TIS a reimbursable grant of $883,947 to help cover the cost of demolition, environmental remediation, asbestos abatement, removal and disposal of waste, and site preparation. The city provided $348,435 in matching funds, and TIS contributed $116,145.
TIS has acquired 12.6 acres on the east side of the 20-acre redevelopment site, including the Q3 JMC building. The remaining portion of the 20-acre site is being readied to be marketed for business development, Crabill said.
Timm said TIS’s new location will “help take us to the next step in the growth of our company, to hire more personnel and expand our operations.” In addition, he said, some of the 12.6-acre parcel that the former Q3 JMC building sits on will be developed for sale to other businesses.
“The building will be an anchor for future development on the rest of the property, restore jobs lost when Q3 JMC closed, and generate tax revenue for our community,” Bailey said.
Kerry Brugger, Urbana’s director of administration, said, “We’re excited to see the building come back into productive use. It’s a great project for our community. It eliminates a severe safety and health nuisance for the community and will retain and create jobs.”
Of TIS, he said, “It’s been a pleasure working with them. They’ve been an excellent partner to work with.”
Fundamentals of Supervision and Management Course Offered to Local Manufacturers Through Clark State & Fastlane
Governor DeWine signed House Bill 606 on Monday, September 14, 2020. Watch the videoconference ceremony below.
The Ohio Manufacturing Association (OMA) supported this legislation to provide legal liability protections to businesses and other entities during COVID-19, as long as they have not shown reckless, intentional or willful misconduct. Read OMA's statement.
This new law will become effective December, 13, 2020. Its qualified immunity provisions apply retroactively from March 9 and extend through Sept. 30, 2021.
To keep up with increasing orders, Rittal is recruiting 40 more assemblers, machine operators and welders to join its total Urbana workforce of more than 500, Love says.
In addition, Rittal recently invested more than $3 million in state-of-the-art equipment to form metal for IT enclosures.
News like this, during the pandemic, is very encouraging,” says CEP Director Marcia Bailey. “Champaign County is fortunate to have a diverse mix of businesses and employers like Rittal who are growing, planning for the future and providing new jobs for our community.”
Rittal is investing in current and future workforce needs, Love said. Here are three examples:
· Apprenticeships to develop engineers: Rittal, partnering with ApprenticeOhio and Clark State Community College, has three four-year apprentices – one in industrial engineering and two in maintenance engineering.
David Vanderveen, an assembler at Rittal for six years, is the industrial engineering apprentice. He was looking into returning to school for engineering when Rittal announced the apprenticeship. About Vanderveen, Love says: “He’s one of those hidden gems you have in your organization. He’s growing very quickly and showing great potential in his apprenticeship.”
Love adds, “Increasingly there is a drive for apprenticeships, as we have less people with technical backgrounds in the workplace. It’s a great way to grow our capability.” And it provides the Rittal apprentices the chance to advance their careers while being paid and avoiding debt from education.
Vanderveen is working under the mentorship of Rittal Industrial Manager Steve Butka, while studying online through Clark State. He will begin in-person labs at Clark State this fall.
· Partnership with TAC (The Abilities Connection): TAC, which serves and employs people with developmental or physical disabilities, has placed five associates who support Rittal’s industrial engineering team. They cut gaskets for IT racks and complete other tasks as needed.
Claus Wolf, Rittal’s Sourcing and Procurement Manager, said that the partnership has “helped us as a business when hiring for open positions is challenging. And it’s helped us to connect with the wider community and to provide purposeful work” for TAC associates.
· Partnership with University of Dayton: A team of business undergraduates completed their senior capstone project at Rittal, for which they won the University of Dayton’s 2020 Outstanding Operations Senior Team of the Year Award.
Wolf said he gave the team free rein to investigate ways to reorganize Rittal’s wood-based product supply chain, including pallets. “They found a vendor that saved us more than $100,000. They found a solution that we couldn’t even when we tried several times,” Wolf said. Rittal plans to continue the partnership with an eye on expanding its talent pool.
Champaign County’s largest employer, KTH is one of the largest Tier 1 automotive suppliers in the U.S., employing more than 1,100 associates in a 1.068-million-square-foot complex west of St. Paris. KTH makes underbody structural frame components for cars, with Honda its top customer.
KTH also has been busy on Sundays, hosting open interviews to fill 40 to 50 open production positions. Millice recently shared with the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP): “The availability of candidates to fill these positions is very limited. We have been advertising these positions by radio, social media and news publications.”
KTH is a Champion Level investor in the CEP, which is Champaign County’s economic development agency.
“Good news like this is very encouraging, especially during the pandemic,” says CEP Director Marcia Bailey. “In Champaign County we’re very fortunate to have a diverse mix of businesses and employers like KTH that are growing, looking to the future and providing new jobs for area residents.”
While keeping up with demand, KTH also has been closely following CDC guidelines to protect its workforce, Millice said. This includes:
“At KTH we pride ourselves on our dedicated workforce, which is one of the best in the industry, as we work through labor demand constraints and follow COVID safe practices,” Millice says.
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A partnership between the Dayton Development Coalition and JobsOhio provided the donation of PPE kits as a way to assist small businesses in Ohio. . Each Toolkit includes 100 3-ply masks, 10 KN-95 masks and a 24-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer.
“Small and medium sized businesses make up the backbone of Ohio’s economy and with grit and determination, they and their employees have persevered through unprecedented economic and health challenges during this pandemic. JobsOhio is pleased, along with our network partners, to provide them with PPE toolkits, to aid them in their efforts to get back to work and operate safely.” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “While we don’t know what the future holds, we are optimistic that Ohio businesses will succeed and continue to play an essential role in Ohio’s economic recovery.
The CEP advised that while they were not able to reach every business in the county they will have additional kits available at the CEP and Municipal buildings of Mechanicsburg, North Lewisburg and St. Paris. These kits will continue to be distributed until they have been depleted. Businesses in need of a PPE Safety Toolkit should contact their office at 937-653-7200.
KTH Parts Industries is hiring! The manufacturing company based in St. Paris, Ohio will host a walk-in hiring event on Sunday, July 19th from 1-4pm. Bring a resume and photo ID. To learn more about KTH, visit www.kth.net.