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Monday, July 21st, 2014

Moorman hired as career coordinator

Educator to work with industries, schools to align curriculum with job skills

By Shelley Grieshop
CELINA - An area resident who has served 39 years in education has been tapped as full-time career coordinator for local students and industries.
Rod Moorman, who retires Aug. 1 as St. Henry schools superintendent, was hired for the consultant role by the new Auglaize/Mercer Business-Education Alliance.
Randy Niekamp of Crown Equipment Corp. and an AMBE board member, said Moorman is a good fit for the job.
"Mr. Moorman ... has an understanding of the needs of our area businesses and industries and has had previous success introducing and organizing programs to strengthen the connection between classroom curriculum and local industry needs, while keeping each students' best interest in mind," he noted.
AMBE President and local businessman Sean Dorsten said Moorman's application "stood out" from the 12 received for the position.
"The committee felt his background in education was important, and he could respond back to schools in a positive manner," Dorsten said.
Moorman was given a one-year contract. His hourly salary is still being determined, Dorsten said.
  Moorman will be the primary liaison between local industries and school systems in Mercer and Auglaize counties "to facilitate and develop programs that encourage the appropriate skills in the workforce to meet the needs of area businesses," according to a statement from the AMBE.
As an outreach coordinator, Moorman will learn what type of employees are needed locally and introduce the positions and businesses to students as young as eighth-graders, officials said.
Moorman said he feels at home in the position. Linking students with good careers is a task he and other area school administrators have addressed for several years.
"It started with Project Lead the Way," he said. "We had 14 industries on the advisory council, and we got to meet with them and talk about their needs."
His first task as pathway coordinator is to create a specific plan of action, he said.
"I have to learn what our businesses and manufacturers do to know what they need and what benefits they can offer," Moorman said.
He'll take the information to guidance counselors in each school district so they can better inform students and parents, he explained.
Moorman said one of the problems he must address is a "lack of knowledge" about the types of jobs available locally. Students and parents often believe the careers and good salaries they are seeking can be found only in bigger metropolitan areas, he said.
At a community development forum in Celina in April, local businessman Jack Buschur and AMBE board member explained the focus of the nonprofit organization and asked area industries to help fund the coordinator position. He told the audience of business leaders it was time for them to step up to the plate and quit relying on public dollars to find adequately trained employees.
More than $60,000 has been pledged so far to meet 2014 needs; fundraising efforts are continuing, Dorsten said.
"We've got 13 businesses on board," he added.  
AMBE also works closely with Hometown Opportunity - an online website that posts available jobs in the area, and provides other information to help link employers and employees.
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