Workforce Initiative to expand training options

Posted On: February 7, 2014

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The West Central Ohio Workforce Development Initiative (WCOWDI) has identified another missing element of the workforce in the west central Ohio region.  “We’ve spent a great deal of time working with local employers and training providers to identify where we’re coming up short as far as a skilled labor force is concerned,” said Angela Hamberg, Economic Development Director for the Village of New Bremen.  “We’ve discovered that there is a distinct need for CNC machinists and other skilled workers in the field of machine trades.”

Hamberg leads the WCOWDI, a coalition made up of economic development professionals, post-secondary training and education professionals and local manufacturing decision-makers.  The WCOWDI steering committee developed a machine trades curriculum that is flexible enough for working students, affordable and provides graduates of the program with an improved skill-set.

“The steering committee is very excited about getting this program off the ground,” said Hamberg.  “It has been in the works for quite some time.  The pilot program will be a good indicator if we are on the right track to delivering a solution that meets the needs of local manufacturing companies.”  The pilot program began on January 21st, and features a blended learning approach.  Lectures and assessments are given online.  Students apply and practice their skills 2 days per week in the machining center “lab” at the Tri Star Career Compact in St. Marys.  At the end of twelve weeks, students will graduate with a basic machining certificate.

“All eight of our students are currently working for local manufacturers, seeking to develop new skills,” said Hamberg.  “The program is not yet open to underemployed or unemployed workers.  The idea is to get a group through the certification process and see how things turn out before we open the enrollment to everyone.”  Retired Rhodes State College instructor Earl Carruthers is teaching the pilot program.