Southeast Ohio Manufacturing Council Addressing Workforce Issues
As an offshoot of the Guernsey County Comprehensive Strategic Plan, the Southeastern Ohio Manufacturing Council (SEOMC) was formed to address the myriad workforce issues common in all communities, and certainly existing locally. The first objective has been to build a working coalition of representatives of public education, community colleges, career and technical schools, Ohio Means Jobs, industry representatives, and the local economic development professionals. From this alliance, the position of Career Pathways Specialist was created to forge a link between high school counselors and industrial human resource personnel. The goal was to apprise each of these groups of the needs, requirements, and incentives presented from both business/industry and educational perspectives. This has resulted in both individual attention to students transitioning from school to the workforce and group-focused activities such as tours, job shadowing, mentorships, and career expos.
The council, through the local Educational Service Center (Ohio Valley ESC), has contracted with a professional website host to create a local site called “Careers in My Community.” It allows local businesses to build a web page describing who they are, what they do, positions that are open, salary and benefit information, and incentives available. The site also provides assistance with preparing a resume and developing interviewing skills. Integral in the site will be contact information for local persons who can provide individual career assistance. Access to this local site has been placed in the hands of students to allow them to explore opportunities available to them right here in their own hometown. The ultimate objective is reduce the “brain drain” which is a workforce issue in most smaller communities. Meetings of the SEOMC are conducted on the third Thursday of every month at 8:00 a.m. in the Paul Brown EPIC Center on Zane State’s Cambridge Campus. While the council has a formalized steering committee, anyone with interest in advancing progress on workforce issues is invited to attend.