By Lauren Sable Freiman | Photo by Gery Petrof
The Twinsburg Chamber Workforce Initiative is a result of conversations with the manufacturing community, many with open positions that they are unable to fill with qualified candidates.
“We saw this as a platform to work with different stakeholders to bring this issue to life,” Twinsburg Chamber member Eli Auerbach says. “We know we have a growing manufacturing base here in Twinsburg and northern Summit County, and we know they have an issue finding talent and labor. This is about how to produce opportunities for students to learn about opportunities in manufacturing and providing a baseline education where they are prepared to enter the workforce and work for one of these manufacturers.”
According to Abby Fechter, executive director of the Twinsburg Chamber, manufacturers say that many candidates lack the soft skills needed to fill entry-level positions within their companies. Many of these companies are willing to train those with strong soft skills, such as working as a part of a team, to take on more responsibility within the company.
“They need people who understand basic manufacturing concepts, fundamental machinery and operations, and working with certain types of instruments,” Fechter says. “Even the basics of reading a ruler.”
To keep the conversation moving forward, the chamber will continue to reach out to businesses this summer with a survey designed to pinpoint current or upcoming job openings and the skills required for those positions. CVCC, KSU, and the Twinsburg City School District will spend time evaluating their course offerings relative to those skills.
“CVCC is going to evaluate existing programs and courses and look at the needs of the manufacturers to see what courses they can offer or can adapt to bundle into a certificate that manufacturers will recognize,” Auerbach says. “The end result is to put together a comprehensive certificate that meets the needs of manufacturers in the community.”
The workforce initiative also aims to introduce high school students, recent graduates, and other individuals in the community who are in search of a viable career path to modern-day manufacturing.
“There is a stigma against manufacturing jobs we want to remove,” Fechter says. “In many instances, the perception is of an environment that is dirty and unsafe, with an unstable industry. In actuality, you can walk into many manufacturing facilities today, and they have a white-glove policy. The manufacturing sector is no longer a break-your-back type of industry.”
With the support of CVCC, KSU, the Twinsburg City School District and the business community, Fechter says the initiative has quickly gained momentum and is rapidly moving forward, a true testament to the desire to find a viable solution and continue to grow Twinsburg’s manufacturing community.
“The backing and support from key people here in Twinsburg in bringing this initiative to life has gotten us to where we are,” she says. “It is not one or two people leading the charge, it’s a component of the educational system and businesses who are willing to come together to move this initiative with us. I’m proud of the community and the people we get to work with on a daily basis.”
For more information: twinsburgchamber.com
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