Friday, October 6, 2017 – OTTAWA COUNTY, OHIO In an ongoing effort to educate and engage students in the career opportunities available to them within the community, the Ottawa County (Ohio) Business Advisory Council held its 4th annual Ottawa County Career Showcase event at the CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry on Friday, October 6 in conjunction with National Manufacturing Day. Nearly 500 9th grade students from school districts throughout Ottawa County participated in the event. Students were treated to a smorgasbord of future careers with 29 businesses in Ottawa County. Students were challenged to engage in activities with the exhibitors in an effort to help students explore the skill sets necessary to obtain careers in Ottawa County. Businesses presented numerous engagement activities for students. This included donning/doffing PPE, safety relays, athletic training and physical therapy challenges, pipefitting races, CNC and robotics operations, and chemistry experiments top the list.
Gaye Winterfield, Business & Workforce Development Manager for the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation, explained the importance of the Ottawa County Career Showcase in building a pipeline of our future workforce. “This is our fourth year for the event and we see no signs of stopping. The showcase continues to grow as businesses; community employers see the value in sharing what they do and what skills are needed to fill careers locally. It is our hope that through this event and other career exploration initiatives that our kids leave high school equipped with the exposure to and understanding of the many career opportunities they have to choose from. Obviously it is our hope that they want to return to Ottawa County to establish roots and find a career pathway.”
Elizabeth Morrison with Northern Manufacturing challenged students this year with a welding simulator activity. “We’ve had several kids ask about going to school and how long they have to be in school for. They’ve asked about the different types of projects that we do, such as where would they see our products and things like that. So there seems to be some genuine interest in it which is awesome because it’s difficult to find welders.”
Materion Brush Inc. had an array of equipment and processes for students to operate and engage in, all of which an individual would encounter into if they came to work for the company. This included infrared thermography, hydraulics, laser alignment, vibration analysis and more were onsite for students to experiment with. “We’re trying to market the many different career paths we have at Materion so we can keep the students locally, help them get good jobs and stay in the area,” said Jim Lippert of Materion Brush Inc. “That’s really the end game for us.”
Additionally, the efforts of the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council have gained the attention of our capitol. The Treasurer of State’s office presented a proclamation to the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council recognizing the invaluable work the council is doing. State Representative Steve Arndt, State Representative Bill Reineke, and Ottawa County Commissioners Mark Stahl, Jim Sass, and Mark Coppeler were all in attendance, had the opportunity to check out the hands-on activities. They also spoke with business representatives about their workforce needs and how events like the Career Showcase benefit the local economy.
“This is always a great opportunity for the kids to see what kind of career paths they might want to choose, and expose them to the different kinds of skill sets and disciplines that those opportunities are going to present,” said State Representative Steve Arndt. “Bill (Reineke) is on the Governor’s Workforce Board and I was the former chairman of the Area 7 workforce board. Workforce is a passion for both of us. Opportunities to be able to engage kids in potential future employment pathways, and understanding what they need to do to prepare themselves for those career opportunities, is just awesome.”
Commissioner Jim Sass also chimed in on the event. “The biggest challenge is coming up with the workforce. All of these businesses are looking for skilled trades experience, or people willing to learn skilled trades and that’s the beauty of this showcase today. It brings 9th graders who don’t know what they want to do when they grow up. It exposes them to things that they wouldn’t otherwise probably see.”
Businesses participating in the event included – 200th RED HORSE Squadron; Allen-Clay Joint Fire District; Ackerman Industrial Equipment; Army National Guard; Bay Point Resort; Bassett’s Market; Civilian Marksmanship Program; Davis Besse Nuclear Power Station/FirstEnergy; GenoaBank; Genoa Retirement Village; Graymont Dolime; Griffing Flying Service; Gurtzweiler; Magruder Hospital; Materion Brush Inc.; McDonalds; Muffler Smith’s; National Park Service; Northern Manufacturing; OhioMeansJobs-Ottawa County; Ottawa County Engineer’s Office; Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office; Ottawa County Juvenile Court TICKET to Success Program; Ottawa County Sanitary Engineer’s Office; Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge; Rudolph Libbe Construction; U.S. Gypsum; WPCR/WPIB Radio; and Zink Calls.