WEDC In The News . . .

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Local Companies Seeking Employees Find Resources During WEDC Event

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Do you have an alarm clock? Can you pass a drug screen? Can you fog a mirror? You’re hired! That’s the sentiment of many manufacturing companies, said Carl Dettmer, director of business development for Owens Community College’s Workforce and Community Services. Dettmer was one of several presenters during an April 10 Waterville Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) breakfast meeting devoted to tackling the challenges facing employers. Attendees included representatives from All State Refractory, BASF, Carruth Studios, Countertop Shop, J&R Contracting, StoryPoint Senior Living Community, Surface Combustion and St. Luke’s Hospital. StoryPoint is set to hire 25-30 staff members for the kitchen, including waiters, waitresses, cooks, dishwashers and caregivers, said Devin Rice. “We look for personality first and see if they’re willing to be trained,” said Rice, who started out as a server in his local StoryPoint community during his sophomore year of high school. He encourages high school students ages 15 and older to consider StoryPoint for part-time employment. Mike Bostdorff of J&R Contracting said construction tradespeople are becoming harder to find as the number of quality employees in the workforce is diminishing. “We are very fortunate to have so many that have been with us for a long time, so we’re in better shape than most, but as we attempt to hire additional people due to growth, it is difficult to find qualified candidates,” Bostdorff said. His disaster remediation company is always looking for restoration technicians to mitigate buildings and restore personal property damaged by fire or water. After listening to Dettmer, representatives from Northwest State Community College and Terra Community College, as well as Theo Foreman of Lucas County Planning and Development’s WorkReady initiative on training and recruiting programs, Bostdorff said he plans to develop a training or apprenticeship program to attract more workers. “At a minimum, I hope to tap into a pool of people that may currently be studying at these institutions that may be interested in adapting the training they have received to use it in a good career in the trades,” Bostdorff said. This is exactly what WEDC coordinator Todd Dickerson had in mind when he organized the spring roundtable discussion. “It’s my job to introduce companies to those resources. If companies really want to fill jobs, they have to be proactive. They have to be willing to invest in the process,” he said. Even though employment levels are high, plenty of potential employees are out there, Foreman said. Some are challenged by lack of training, transportation and housing issues, he said. WorkReady uses testing, training and other services to prepare these workers for careers. Larger manufacturers have worked with Work-Ready to find qualified employees, while other employers list jobs on the Ohio Means Jobs website. Companies seeking employees can also further engage high school and college students in career fairs or in school visits, Dickerson said. “Every May, we kick out a bunch of inventory from the schools. Not all of them are going to college. If they can find affordable housing and it’s geographically convenient, they might be your next employees,” he said. The program was sponsored by Mosser Construction and Renhill.

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