WILMINGTON — An electronic resource guide is being compiled to help local employers and schools make connections around workforce development aims.
Following the return of employer and school surveys, the Clinton County Workforce Development’s Steering Committee will try to have an eResource Guide online by mid-October, said Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dessie Rogers at a “Clinton County Workforce Roundtable” gathering this week.
Southern Ohio Education Service Center staffer Curt Bradshaw, like Rogers a member of the steering committee, said they envision a “really comprehensive resource guide.”
For example, it’s expected that local educators will be able to go to the resource guide and see which local businesses offer “job shadowing,” plus who to contact to make it happen.
Job shadowing involves students spending time following a professional as she or he works. By observing the professional for anywhere from a few hours to several weeks, students can get a better understanding of the particular career.
Likewise, local employers will be able to find out which schools are interested in having its teachers/educators and students take part in on-site business tours. So for instance this could involve Wilmington City Schools teachers taking educator tours at the air park to learn what actually is happening at ATSG or Amazon, said Bradshaw.
The resource guide also will ease workforce opportunities like internships and apprenticeships.
As an electronic guide, it can be updated regularly to stay current, noted Bradshaw.
Another topic mentioned at the meeting is students “who have graduated high school, perhaps college, and are just kind of lost [in the transition] right now,” Bradshaw remarked.
“We recognize that, as a community — I hate to say failed — but we have probably failed some [past students] in the community,” he added.
Rogers also touched upon that situation.
She noted that exploring methods for connecting with students who are lost in transition is one of the priority action steps that emerged during this summer’s discussions to address, in a concerted manner, local workforce challenges and gaps.
“There is a large percentage of students who are graduating from high schools in our community who don’t go off to college, or who go off to college and don’t finish at college, who are coming back and kind of like ‘What’ll I do?’ And I know, I was one of them,” acknowledged the chamber of commerce head.
Rogers added, “We want to get those students who have a lot of potential and we want to make sure that they feel welcomed into our workforce.”
Tammy Keller with OhioMeansJobs | Clinton County, who’s also a steering committee member, said this summer’s discussions with business people, educators and others yielded five primary soft skills perceived to be lacking in local organizations. By consensus, the top two are dependability and communication.
One thing that came out in a local workforce development focus group is “when you try to communicate with people now, they become confrontational immediately,” relayed Keller.
Rounding out the top five soft skills for workplace improvement are time management, critical thinking, and teamwork.
When it comes to short-term certification opportunities (up to six months) for workers, those unfortunately are lacking in the community, said Keller. These programs would address situations where an employer needs you to learn something or other for a particular opportunity, or maybe an employer wants you to be proficient in Microsoft Office.
There are some such certification education/training programs in Cincinnati and Dayton, ”but what can we do to bring it here?” she said. The local programs would not necessarily have to be for just one employer, noted Keller.
The Clinton County Workforce Development initiative, launched in late June, is a joint effort of the Clinton County Port Authority, OhioMeansJobs | Clinton County, Southern Ohio Educational Service Center, and the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.