Today 55° Today 55° 33° 33° Tomorrow 49° Tomorrow 49° 31° 31°
Friday, November 24th, 2017

Teachers, recruiters alert students to jobs

By Sydney Albert

Donald Holtvoigt of JR Manufacturing, Jeff Pax of Pax Machine Works, Curt Cramer. . .

CELINA - Local job recruiters are working with teachers to educate students about local job opportunities and ending misconceptions that the only careers available are at factories and on farms.
Representatives from 11 local businesses met on Wednesday with area teachers to discuss their employment needs. Jared Ebbing, Mercer County economic development director, and Don Berry, a career-based intervention instructor for Tri Star, led the group with questions. Participating companies included Nidec Minster, Ferguson, Duesway, Celina Tent, JR Manufacturing, PAX, Crown Equipment, AAP St. Marys, Mercer Health, Precision Strip, Reynolds and Reynolds and Valco.
Most companies said they have similar needs for entry-level workers with a good work ethic as well as some specialized positions. Despite companies doing what they can to attract workers with various benefits, Reynolds and Reynolds personnel director Dennis Hirt said a big part of the problem is that the area has too few people and too many jobs.
Jen Egbert of Precision Strip said her company often fights two big misconceptions when trying to hire: first, a college degree is necessary to having a career and second, jobs like engineering and software development are only available in larger cities. Precision does much of its work, including software engineering, in-house.
In fact, several companies said misconceptions about what they actually do may be part of the dearth of applications. Hirt said while the company largely provides business and legal forms, it has a place for artistic thinkers as well. Crown Equipment corporate recruiter Curt Cramer said his company has a broad range of positions, from production associates and graphic designers to sous chefs and pilots. Dave Willis of Celina Tent said the company over the years has shifted from renting tents to working with the U.S. military and organizations like UNICEF to create specialized shelters.
Many company representatives said they are willing to help employees invest in their futures, even as entry-level workers, and have programs that could go toward aiding continuing education and career development.
Part of the problem, recruiters agreed, is most of the workers that companies want to hire already have jobs and aren't looking for another, but those who do apply may not have basic skills. Diana Lee, who works in human resources at VALCO, said it seems like the bar is getting lower and lower, and even candidates with a good work ethic who could pass a routine drug screening are scarce. Cramer stressed the importance of face-to-face communication, a skill he and other representatives agreed most young people who've grown up in the digital age lack.
Several local companies send representatives to schools to perform mock interviews so students can get interview experience. Hirt said that experience is valuable, even if applicants don't get the job.
Cramer said a good interview can make all the difference, citing a real-life example in which a candidate applied for a position for which he didn't have experience, but he interviewed so well, another position was created for him.
Ebbing said he'd recently talked with local students and found that while many wanted to stay in the area when they were older, almost none believed they could achieve their career goals if they did. The perception, he said, was that the area was "nothing but farms and factories."
He stressed the importance of teachers and parents to encourage and help their children do research on local companies and the work they have available. If the next generation isn't aware employers have openings for pilots, sous chefs, graphic designers and more in the area, he said "our population will plummet."
Additional online story on this date
For the past quarter-century, anytime that Tom Clune, Tom Hoying, Keith Buschur or Matt Liette get together, it doesn't take long for discussions to morph toward St. Henry's 1992 football season. [More]
Subscriber only stories on this date
Area shops look forward to Saturday
Local deal hunters snatch up buys
Five jailed in drug bust
Sentencing delayed in local fake check writing case
Lima woman pleads guilty to drug possession charge
Pen(guin) pals
Coldwater's Seibert signs with Findlay
Imwalle has back experienced group
Steinke ready to rebuild Bulldogs
Cavs look to build on last season
May hopes success carries over
Bashore excited to lead Indians
Winning expected to continue at Fort
Flyers expecting big encore
Young Flyers hope to be dangerous
McClurg counting on veterans to lead
Wiss ready to continue successful run
Dougherty has talented lineup
Experience in abundance for Cards
Rangers striving for improvement
Knoxville looks to be competitive
Hughes has veteran roster returning
Panthers look to have better year
Skins loaded for another good year
Moorman the new coach for St. Henry
Roughriders look to reload this season
Burke expects good things from squad