By ANDREA GIBSON
Sandusky County Economic Development Corp.
FREMONT ─ Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation will be holding a THINK Manufacturing Career Showcase event on Thursday, Oct. 4. Approximately 800 local ninth grade students from St. Joseph Central Catholic, Fremont, Lakota, Clyde, Bellevue and Gibsonburg School Districts will participate in this fourth annual event.
Sandusky County has a broad manufacturing base and a skilled workforce is a major concern to our existing as well as potential new manufacturers. The need to continue to make Sandusky County a great place to do business and addressing our future workforce is essential to keeping our manufacturers in Sandusky County. There is a shortage in skilled trade workers leaving a generational gap in the manufacturing industry. It is crucial to introduce the benefits of working in skilled trades and the options that career path can provide in the employability success of Sandusky County residents.
The long-term goals of the showcase are to raise awareness of opportunities in the field of advanced manufacturing, to change perceptions about employment in today’s manufacturing environment and to ensure a sufficient supply of talent for the future. The SCEDC’s workforce development committee decided to focus on what the local manufacturers said they were looking for in their employees. The planning committee for this event is a collaboration of local manufacturers, educators, economic development professionals, the workforce investment system and community organizations that are coming together to address workforce shortages in the industry, while providing career exposure opportunities for youth.
Representatives from local businesses will share with students how basic workplace skills will help them succeed in an innovative, yet highly technical industry and reacquaint youth with the process of designing and building products, through hands-on activities. In addition, the event will educate attendees about the varied career opportunities that are available to them in manufacturing. The Career Showcase event will feature work skill-sets that include teamwork, problem-solving, continuous improvement/Lean/quality, manufacturing career pathways, mechanical/electrical trades, machining trades/blue print reading and robotics/automation. This year the SCEDC wanted to get the community and the parents of the students more involved by having an open house from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3. The public can come to the Student Activity Center at Terra State Community College during that time to meet the local manufacturers and participate in the hands-on activities that the students will be doing the following day.
Closing the skills and generational skills gap is not something that we can change overnight. However, with Sandusky County leaders working together as a team, we are confident that our efforts will help local Sandusky County residents of all ages learn that manufacturing today is “not your grandpa’s factory.” In short, when you “THINK Manufacturing,” your future will be BRIGHT.
The Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that focuses on workforce development, business retention and expansion and business recruitment for Sandusky County.
To learn more about THINK Manufacturing or other workforce development initiatives, visit the SCEDC website at sanduskycountyedc.org and click on the Workforce Development tab.
Andrea Gibson is communications administrator for SCEDC.