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THINK Manufacturing: Planning for the Future

FREMONT– Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) has been working on two main projects that focus on bringing manufacturing jobs to Sandusky County and also close the skills gap.

A reshoring initiative was started as a long term program to target 44 companies in Ohio and the surrounding states that have been identified as having plastic-related supplier needs. An initiative has been in place to contact these companies and work with them to eliminate their supplier in Mexico and replace it with a supplier in Sandusky County or in the region if this is a better alternative for the business.  Kay E. Reiter, Executive Director of SCEDC stated “The United States continues to lose manufacturing jobs to offshore plants.  Our plans are to connect companies with other manufacturers that are closer to them.  This reduces the time needed to respond to changes in demand by having manufacturers in close proximity”.

The 2015 touchpoint is to send a Sandusky County Chamber of Commerce AG pack that is made in Sandusky County, to the 44 identified companies.  Following these deliveries will be a focus on face-to-face meetings with those targeted manufacturers with a plastic supplier need.

The SCEDC is also working on closing the skills and generational gap that faces manufacturers throughout our area. A Manufacturers’ Career Showcase event was held on October 2, 2015. This event offered instruction in the seven skill-sets that manufacturers said they were looking for in their employees.  Seven different local Sandusky County schools participated in the event, and in total 825+ ninth grade students attended the Manufacturers’ Career Showcase. The seven skill-sets were teamwork/problem-solving, continuous improvement/Lean, employability, continuous learning, mechanical/electrical trades, machining trades/blue print reading, and robotics.

Local representatives shared 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 educated attendees about the varied career opportunities that are available to them in manufacturing.

The 1st Annual Manufacturers’ Career Showcase event was a collaboration of local manufacturers, educators, economic development professionals, the workforce investment system, and community organizations. They came together to address workforce shortages in the industry, while providing career exposure opportunities for youth.

“There is a shortage in skilled trade workers that is leaving a generational gap in the manufacturing industry.  We need to introduce the benefits of working in the skilled trades NOW, and let this generation know that they have options” Reiter said.  The long-term goals of the Sandusky County Manufacturers’ Career Showcase is 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.  In short, to “THINK Manufacturing”.

For more information contact Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation at 419.332.2882 or visit their website at www.sanduskycountyedc.net.

SCEDC Hosts the 1st Annual Manufacturers' Career Showcase Event for Local 9th Grade Students

FREMONT – Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC); a non-profit organization that focuses on business retention, business recruitment, green energy and developing technologies for Sandusky County, hosted a Manufacturers’ Career Showcase event on Friday, October 2nd for approximately 825 local ninth grade students from St. Joseph Central Catholic, Temple Christian, Fremont, Lakota, Clyde, Bellevue, and Gibsonburg School Districts.

Over three years ago, the SCEDC pulled together a team of local manufacturers, educators, and countywide service agencies to begin addressing the workforce needs for the manufacturing community of Sandusky County.  As the planning group began to organize, thirteen common skill-sets were identified as necessary for manufacturing today and into the future.  From there the SCEDC hosted two manufacturing bus tours, October 2013 and October 2014, for the eight Sandusky County High Schools’ guidance counselors, principals, and superintendents.  After the 2014 bus tour, our planning group heard back from the schools that we needed to start focusing on the 9th grade student population.

The planning committee for the Manufacturing Career Showcase 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.  The long-term goals of the Sandusky County Manufacturer Career Showcase is 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 Manufacturers’ Career Showcase event featured seven skill-sets that included teamwork/problem-solving, continuous improvement/Lean, employability, continuous learning, mechanical/electrical trades, machining trades/blue print reading, and robotics. Local representatives shared 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 educated attendees about the varied career opportunities that are available to them in manufacturing.

The day was broken into two separate sessions with Fremont, Lakota and Temple Christian attending the morning session and Bellevue, Clyde, Gibsonburg and SJCC attending the afternoon session. All of the students were provided lunch from Ole Zims.  The manufacturers and businesses that attended the event include Mitsubishi, Revere Plastics, Style Crest, ABC Inoac, Whirlpool, Alkon, Ohio Means Jobs, Kelly Services, Time Staffing, WSOS, Crown Battery, Century Die, Freeman, Green Bay Packaging, Motion Controls and Terra State Community College.  There were approximately 70 volunteers from local businesses and organizations who helped throughout the day as well.  The Cuyahoga Group catered breakfast and lunch for all of the manufacturers, business representatives, volunteers, and school personnel that attended the event.

The event was held at Terra State Community College, and was funded through WSOS Community Action Commission, Inc., Terra State Community College, Fremont Federal Credit Union, Crown Battery, The Bellevue Hospital, United Way of Sandusky County, U.S. Bank, AEP Ohio and Sandusky County Manufacturing Career Showcase Committee Members.  The Toledo Walleyes donated a family pass, of 4 tickets and a $20 food voucher, to 1 student from each participating school district and Crown Battery generously donated 1 laptop that will be raffled off to 1 lucky 9th Grade winner after the students have completed a follow up survey of the event.

Fremont News Messenger - Showcase Teaches New Skills October 2, 2015

FREMONT — With the number of open skilled trade positions on the rise, 900 area freshmen got a firsthand look at what to expect if they decide to enter the manufacturing workforce after high school.

As colleges raise tuition, some students struggle with the decision of whether to attend college or get a job after graduation. Several area manufacturers visited Terra State Community College on Friday during National Manufacturing Showcase to demonstrate how students can learn a skilled trade and earn high wages.

One manufacturing company, Whirlpool Inc., used the showcase to examine job options in maintenance repair and electrical work.

“There is a shortage in skill trade workers,” Whirlpool electrician Lori Gullett said.

Alexis Flores, a freshman at Ross High School, said she is interested in skilled trade work when she graduates.

“I like putting stuff together,” Flores said.

One of the benefits of working at Whirlpool is the chance to earn save money by having tools and financial assistance to attend trade school to work at Whirlpool, presenters said.

“We have about 80 in our program. Half of those are set to retire in 10 years,” Whirlpool maintenance mechanic Ben Weiland said. “There is no better opportunity than a guaranteed job.”

If maintenance work was not an attendee’s preference, Green Bay Packing, 2323 Commerce Drive in Fremont, is celebrating 50 years by offering students a look at problem solving, packaging and labeling.

To work at Green Bay Packing, a high school graduate must be able to examine a blueprint and fill in the missing lines.

“Since what we do is depedant on diagrams, we brought a diagram in for the students to find missing lines and then make the box. That is the same thing we do on a day-to-day basis,” Tamara Fry said. “The whole gist is blueprint reading, knowing how to measure and understanding how to cut and reading the blueprint to know how to fold it directly.”

Fry added: “You can get a job without going to college.”

Plans under way for National Manufacturing Showcase

FREMONT — Sandusky County Economic Development Corp. will be holding a Manufacturing Career Showcase on Oct. 2 for approximately 900 local ninth-grade students.

School districts participating are St. Joseph Central Catholic, Harvest, Fremont, Lakota, Clyde, Bellevue and Gibsonburg. The planning committee for this event is a collaboration of local manufacturers, educators, economic development professionals, the workforce investment system, and community organizations.

The event will be at Terra State Community College, and is being funded through WSOS Community Action Commission, Inc., Terra State Community College, Fremont Federal Credit Union, Crown Battery, The Bellevue Hospital, United Way of Sandusky County, U.S. Bank and Sandusky County Manufacturing Career Showcase Committee Members.

For more information contact Kay Reiter, SCEDC Executive Director, at 419- 332-2882

Toledo Business Journal Article on Shortage of Skilled Workers
Whirlpool Shifts Some Production to U.S. From Mexico - WSJ.com
Fremont News Messenger 11-5-2013

FREMONT — Telamon Construction workers spent Monday afternoon re-pouring the floor in a Freeman Company facility as a part of the company’s $4.2 million investment in the plant.

Workers dismantled portions of the facility floor to create a stable foundation for a new machine. That new floor is the first of a two-phase addition Freeman Company COO Mike Mullholand said should create nearly a dozen jobs over a three-year period and allow for the installation of new machines in the future.

“We currently have capabilities that will rival anyone else in our industry,” Mullholand said. “This addition will make us more competitive and open up new business opportunities.”

The new machine, called a Yasda jig boring machine, is used to drill and bore holes through large plates of steel and aluminum with exacting positional and size accuracy down to 1/10,000th of an inch.

“The foundation has to be solid so it can maintain that accuracy,” Mullholand said.

The COO said the construction project involved 325 yards of concrete, more than 30 cement trucks and created demand for construction work in the area.

Freeman Company is a manufacturing company that specializes in designing and building thermoform tooling for the food service and packaging industry. The company started in 1892 but moved to the area in the 1970s, Mullholand said.

News Messenger 9-4-13

FREMONT — The Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation is receiving a Local Economic Assistance Program grant of $5,000 awarded by AEP Ohio. The grant will help the SCEDC with a unique initiative to restore jobs to Sandusky County.

“We very much appreciate the support of AEP Ohio for this project” said Kay E. Reiter, SCEDC executive director. “This project will support economic development efforts in Sandusky County.”

AEP Ohio’s LEAP grants support projects that promote the retention and attraction of manufacturing jobs and investment. Examples of acceptable programs and projects are retention and expansion surveys, site feasibility studies, retaining existing industries, attracting new industries, conducting special studies, performing research and other creative uses.

Grant projects must leverage additional funds from other sources, demonstrate joint participation from more than one group and provide benefits to an area or region, according to AEP Ohio program guidelines.

The company awards grants of up to $10,000 for eligible projects.

“We are pleased to be able to provide financial support to help facilitate economic development projects that help to bring jobs and prosperity to local communities,” said Pablo Vegas, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer.

SANDUSKY COUNTY LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

FREMONT — Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation has a new online home that was created with input from local site selectors, the professionals who serve as an intermediary between communities and companies seeking a place to expand or relocate their business.

Kay Reiter, the group’s executive director, said the process to update the website began about one year ago. Reiter said the new version of the site, which can be found at www.sanduskycountyedc. net, went live last week.

“A lot of work went into this,” Reiter said.

Initially, she said, the Ohio Business Development Coalition reviewed the old website and said issues that needed to be addressed included search-engine optimization and the number of clicks required to access certain portions of the site.

“They told us there were too many clicks to get into things,” Reiter said.

Site selectors based in Cleveland and Detroit were then brought in, with help from Toledo’s Regional Growth Partnership, and met with the development corporation’s marketing committee.

“From there, it actually became a much bigger project,” Reiter said. “They told us we needed to tell our local story better.”

To do that, she said, the committee awarded a web design contract to Fremont-based WAMH Design, LLC. and settled on several changes to how the site was set up.

The new home page, titled “A Can-Do County in a Can-Do State,” features a slide show of local businesses that have been involved in recent EDC projects.

Other new features, suggested by the site selectors — who are key users for the corporation’s website — include quick access to available sites, educational information, incentives and a profile of the county’s workforce.

Reiter said many of the new website’s features also will be advantageous to current county businesses, such as a supply chain search engine that can help businesses find the best source for raw materials and product components.

“That’s a link that our existing companies can use too,” she said.

The search engine optimization issues also were addressed, and all information on the site can now be reached within two clicks of the mouse, Reiter said.

She said the EDC paid for the cost of the new website, less than $5,000, out of its 2011 budget and plans to seek full reimbursement through JobsOhio funds available for that purpose.

WAMH Design will provide continual maintenance of the site, Reiter said.

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