On Friday, February 8th, Woodmore Locals Schools celebrated Workforce Signing Day in Ottawa County. Andrew Hemminger, Guidance Counselor for Woodmore High School, welcomed students and teachers to Woodmore High School’s first Workforce Signing Day, to recognize high school senior, Cole Anthony, who will sign a contract with Thermo King Midwest following graduation from Woodmore High School. Cole’s parents, Sandy and Troy Anthony, and his boss, Chad Beaudoin, were also in attendance.
“Cole did it right. He filled out the necessary paper work, he shows up to work, he comes into school twice a day (for 1st and 8th period and works in between), and works on the weekends,” stated Mr. Hemminger. “He’s not going to have any college debt, he’s not going into a bottom-end, low paying job; he’s going in on a pretty good path.”
“I’m excited to be working,” Cole said with a smile. “Going to school and being in the real world is so different, and most students don’t really get to experience something like this. I like being out in the real world, with real working people.”
“Cole gets to see what a difference he makes, instantly,” said Troy Anthony, General Manager of Thermo King Midwest. “We’re a transport and refrigeration company. While Cole was working on the equipment, a gentleman came in and told us his unit broke down and that they’re going to lose that product if we don’t get it fixed in time. Most of these trailers have hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of products in them. Cole gets to see real, everyday work situations.”
“If I wouldn’t have been able to come to school, leave for work, then finish my day back at school, I would be working in this shop 6 periods out of 8 periods a day,” commented Cole. “Just being in the shop wouldn’t give me all of the necessary skills, so by being able to go into work for part of my day, hopefully it gains exposure for other students too. Maybe what I’m doing can help them figure out what they want to do, instead of just coming to school and sitting around in class.”
“The best day for us is when the school closes and we get him for the whole day, rather than several hours,” laughed Chad Beaudoin, Service Manager of Thermo King Midwest. “This works better for us because he can finish his projects within a day, verses over the course of a few days or more.”
“I think there’s a huge void,” commented Mr. Anthony. “You have college kids, then you have those who want to go into the military, but what about the kids in between? Cole works with his hands; he does it all whether it’s woodworking, metal fabrication or wrenching. Penta Career Center is a great avenue for that, but there are other options out there. The industry for skilled trades is huge, and they are in dire need of people now.”
“There’s movement within the superintendents and businesses, through the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council,” mentioned Tim Rettig, Superintendent of Woodmore Local Schools. “We’re working to do something about this very segment, especially during a student’s senior year.”
This event is a great way to help other students be more aware of their plans for life after high school, as Cole is a direct example of what can happen when you do things the right way. Workforce Signing Day was put together to recognize high school seniors who will be starting their career path in the workplace. For more information about Ottawa County’s Workforce Signing Day or to learn about the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council, please visit www.ocic.biz/ocbac or call Jamie Beier Grant at 419-898-6242.