YOUNGSTOWN – A portion of the $ 1.5 million General Motors donated to the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition when the state reclaimed tax incentives from the automaker is being used for real grassroots effort to train people in manufacturing professions.
The workforce development organization has teamed up with the Youngstown subsidiary of the National Center for Urban Solutions and United Returning Citizens, based in Youngstown, to get the message across on the streets and in grocery stores – everywhere in Mahoning Valley really – there are plenty of jobs and on-call training available available.
“It’s just about having these conversations and asking people where you are and where you want to be.” said Jessica Borza, executive director of the manufacturing coalition.
Ongoing efforts in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties result in the Manufacturing Coalition working with select employers through their WorkAdvance program, which helps identify and train applicants.
WorkAdvance, which is funded by a federal grant, teaches people without manufacturing knowledge the ABCs of manufacturing in order to prepare for entry and further development in this area.
It is the responsibility of the National Center for Urban Solutions and United Returning Citizens to recruit people to participate in the program that promises them a job upon successful completion.
“What we found prior to this project was the recruitment for a career in generic manufacturing that was ineffective.” said Borza. “Job seekers want to know what that means, where do I go, what do I get paid? So MVMC works with employers in advance to tell them what vacancies you have. Would you make a commitment to include a course in the WorkAdvance program? So that’s their commitment … and that’s NCUS and URC’s mission to recruit, and that’s how they recruit at WorkAdvance. “
Training takes place at career and tech centers in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, as well as at Youngstown State University’s new $ 12 million excellence training center, the latter through a partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College, which is part of the training center .
The YSU training center received Borza, education and training partner and state leader, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development, for a discussion on human resource development.
While touring the new high-tech facility, Husted, Mihalik, and others were able to see a group of students from the WorkAdvance program in class.
Kudos for the facility, which is seen as the cornerstone of the region’s efforts to create an ecosystem for human resource development to meet the growing demands of the region’s emerging high-tech markets.
He also called for preparation for the next generation of jobs and industries on the way, pointing out that the equipment is the same type of equipment that high-tech manufacturers in Ohio, the US and around the world use .
“I go all over Ohio. I’ve never seen a more impressive system than this. “ said Husted, who leads the state’s workforce development efforts.
“I ask, I ask for everyone who listens to come and get your skills; come here and do your training … but training cannot be given to you, it has to be taken. “ said Husted.
The center is a two-story research and innovation space with space for research and design in additive manufacturing, automation and robotics training, CNC machining courses (Computerized Numerical Control), metrology and CT scanning, and training in industrial maintenance.
There is also the so-called “Foundry of the future” This includes advanced mold making technology and office space that can be rented from industrial partners.
Dionne Dowdy is the executive director and co-founder of URC, which works to help people return home from prison. Hiring employers represent an untapped demographic and they can help fill the void by connecting them to training opportunities.
“We say if we get a percentage of that, that’s a whole new workforce that isn’t even tapped.” said Dowdy.
The $ 1.5 million in MVMC is part of $ 12 million GM pledged to invest in the Mahoning Valley for breaking tax credit agreements with the state when it closed its Lordstown plant in 2019. YSU, Lordstown and the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments also received money from the settlement.
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