SIDNEY — Twelve local seniors took a big step toward their future careers in Shelby County Wednesday morning.
“This is our first year of what will hopefully be an annual event where we see graduating seniors that have made a career decision in their life that could change their life forever in terms of growth, opportunity and success,” Mick Given, president of the Workforce Partnership of Shelby County, said. “This is what it’s all about — the students, the families, and to just expose our graduating young adults into careers that will hopefully last a lifetime.”
The Workforce Partnership of Shelby County was created in 2013 after growing out of the economic development group; originally, the Workforce Partnership partnered with 20 companies in Shelby County. Since 2013, that number has grown to 45 companies, all locally owned and operated, that are creating opportunities for graduating seniors to enter the workforce in the career of their choice fresh out of high school. The Partnership focuses on students in seventh through 12th grade and focuses on promoting workforce readiness skills.
On Wednesday, May 25, 12 local seniors who participate in the Workforce Partnership signed contracts with local companies to begin working in their career field following graduation. The students include: Zane Cline, of Sidney High School, who signed with Air Handling Inc.; Doug Ellison, of Houston High School and the Upper Valley Career Center, who signed with Sollman Electric; Blaine Vaugh, of Sidney High School, who signed with Electro-Controls; Andrew Henderson, of Sidney High School and the Upper Valley Career Center, who signed with Ferguson Construction Company; Christopher Fritz, of the Upper Valley Career Center, who signed with Ferguson Construction Company; Malaina Little, of Fairlawn High School, who signed with Wilson Health; Kyle Francis, of Jackson Center High School and the Upper Valley Career Center, who signed with Lochard Inc.; Carson Roesser, of Sidney High School, who signed with Cornerstone Building Brands; Jhyston Malveaux, of Sidney High School, who signed with Cornerstone Building Brands; Reis Macy, of Sidney High School and Upper Valley Career Center, who signed with Panel Control Inc.; Lysh Maurer, of Christian Academy, who signed with Wells Brothers Inc.; and Wesley Davidson, of Sidney High School, who signed with Slagle Mechanical Contractors.
Fritz, who studies construction technologies at the Upper Valley Career Center and begins his career with Ferguson on June 6, learned more about the opportunities available to him through the Workforce Partnership.
“It’s helped me realize the steps that I need to take in order to get to the career that I wanted. They helped me meet with the people that I needed to, helped me get an interview and a job offer,” Fritz said. “I had help going through foster care, and now I have help getting a job.”
For Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, the importance of programs like the Workforce Partnership is to set the youth of Ohio up for success and prepare them for the workforce.
“No matter what you choose in life, it’s important to choose wisely, and we’re celebrating today wise choices and great partnerships between employers, educators, families and students who made wise choices when they were in high school to get the skills that they need to lead, and to work, and to live their version of the American Dream, without debt,” Husted said. “Today, we celebrate you, and Gov. DeWine and I offer our congratulations.”
Strengthening Ohio’s workforce has been a major point of interest for Husted, who is the director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and has helped strengthen programs such as the TechCred Program, Ohio to Work and OhioMeansJobs.com. In addition to this, the Office of Workforce Transformation offers the Industry Sector Partnership Grant to partnerships in order to help fund collaboration between businesses, education and training providers, and other community leaders who are invested in improving their region’s workforce.
The Workforce Partnership of Shelby County received a $250,000 Industry Sector Partnership (ISP) “Accelerant” grant in the first round of the ISP grant program to focus on building a workforce pipeline in the construction, manufacturing, healthcare and transportation industries.
“This community is special because you have 45 industries setting students up in the work force and for success,” Husted said. “It’s as important as anything that we do right with education and job skills, because that opens up the right opportunity. Gov. DeWine and I are proud to support that effort and are proud to support students who have hope, self-efficiency and can begin their version of the American Dream.”