By ANDREA GIBSON
The Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation is taking a multipronged approach to workforce development. THINK Sandusky County is a workforce development initiative led by the SCEDC with the support of our local community and business partners. The long-term goal is to raise awareness of opportunities for in-demand jobs. Awareness of career opportunities to our youth is a critical component to keep Sandusky County and the region competitive. Some of the THINK Sandusky County efforts have included these initiatives with our K-12 school partners:
- THINK Sandusky County Bus Tours – Getting the buy in from the schools is crucial to having a successful workforce development system. In 2013 the team invited school superintendents, principals, and guidance counselors on a bus to tour area manufacturers to learn about available careers, sought skill sets, and earning potential. In 2019, the SCEDC brought back the bus tours for area superintendents, principals, guidance counselors and teachers/coaches of influence and included stops within the manufacturing, healthcare and agriculture industries.
- THINK Manufacturing Ninth Grade Career Showcase – Over 3,000 ninth grade students participated over the past four years. Representatives from local businesses share with students how 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. The event educates attendees about the varied career opportunities that are available to them in manufacturing. The fifth annual career showcase will be held on Oct. 4.
- THINK Sandusky County High School Junior and Senior Job Fair – SCEDC and partners held the third annual Job Fair on March 29th. In 2019 the team decided to also invite juniors to this event. The goal for this initiative is to connect juniors and graduating seniors with Sandusky County employers. We feel that it is important for especially the seniors to attend the event, whether the students will be going directly into the workforce, simply looking for a summer job, or furthering their education.
- THINK Sandusky County Teacher Manufacturing Bootcamp – SCEDC along with the Transformation Network and North Point Educational Service Center, held the first THINK Sandusky County Teacher Manufacturing Bootcamp in June of 2019 for 24 educators from the Sandusky County School Districts. These educators were willing to gain first-hand experience about rewarding careers available in manufacturing in Sandusky County by touring 6 facilities and creating a presentation project to then be used in their classrooms. In return the educators received 3 graduate credit hours, at a discounted price from Ashland University. The goal of the bootcamp is for educators to learn about good paying jobs/careers available in these industries and the skills students will need to be successful in securing and retaining these positions.
Other Workforce Development Activities – The SCEDC’s Sandusky County Business Advisory Council is a great forum to communicate the workforce development programs that we have in Sandusky County, with superintendents and companies from our top industry sectors. The Chamber of Commerce of Sandusky County runs the REACH and BRIDGE programs, exposing elementary aged children to area business partners and high school students to job shadowing, project-based learning, and internships. Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Centers and Terra State Community College also offer a number of relevant workforce development programs.
About SCEDC: Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) is a non-profit organization that focuses on workforce development, business retention and expansion, and business recruitment for Sandusky County. The SCEDC
Andrea Gibson is communications and project administrator of SCEDC, 2511 Countryside Dr., Suite C. Fremont, email@example.com.