Thursday, May 26th, 2022
Tri Star a win-win for all
By William Kincaid
Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard
Tri Star senior Casey Goodwin of Coldwater gives Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted a tour of the precision machining classroom at Tri Star Career Center in Celina Wednesday afternoon.
CELINA - Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on Wednesday marveled at the melding of education and workforce development at Tri Star, saying it is doing exactly what is needed to prepare students for careers after high school.
Husted visited the $25 million, 101,170-square-foot, two-story facility on State Route 703 to highlight the importance of career education. He addressed a gathering of students, teachers, administrators and business representatives.
The new Tri Star facility, which was officially dedicated in September 2019, is the only compact in Ohio that is not attached to another school, according to Husted. It consolidates the compact's numerous career programs under one roof with 19 classrooms and laboratories. Before the facility was built, Tri Star programs were housed at sites in Celina, Coldwater and St. Marys.
"This is as nice of a facility as I've seen in the whole state of Ohio," Husted after a tour of the buildings and programs led by Tri Star Director Tim Buschur.
"It's a great collaborative with all of the schools coming together with the private sector to ultimately serve the customers which are the students of these communities," he said. "These students are prepared for anything in the world now in their respective programs because they're working on modern equipment with qualified instructors, in many cases already working for businesses while they're in the school."
Husted praised taxpayers and local school districts and businesses for uniting behind a common cause.
"The selfless leadership of the different schools who decided that they wanted to do something special for their students and for their communities and the employers who are willing to embrace this, make donations and investments have made this special," he said.
Any community in the United States or world for that matter desiring to pursue high school career education should visit and learn from Tri Star, Husted said.
"You have everything from cyber security to health care to agriculture to robotics, graphic design, and all of these great things that are in demand in the workforce- you can learn all about them right here," Husted said. "You don't need to go off to college and spend a bunch of money and go into debt."
Students, Husted noted, can obtain the eduction necessary at Tri Star to land a good paying job right out of high school.
"And then if you still want to get your college degree, you'll probably have an employer who will pay for it for you," he said.
Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard
Tri Star senior Morgan Rose of Coldwater shows Lt. Governor Jon Husted her graphic communications portfolio at Tri Star Career Center in Celina Wednesday afternoon.
Tri Star students and graduates shared their success stories with the lieutenant governor, including Braydon Adams, 20, who completed Tri Star's robotics program two years ago and went on to study robotic automation at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
"I'm actually working at Honda fixing robots. So it's a lot of fun," he said. "I recently started my own business manufacturing plastic for 3D printers and I'm in the process right now of getting the machines and everything together."
"What do you do in your spare time?" Husted quipped.
Husted also heard from Mike Pax, president of Pax Machine Works Inc., a family-owned, Celina-based high quality precision metals stamping business founded in 1948.
Pax said the business hires one or two Tri Star students each year.
"Really, for our community, I think it's really what it's all about," Pax said about the positive impact of Tri Star.
Pax recalled being amazed at the Tri Star facility when he walked through it for the first time, thinking to himself, "Oh my gosh, I'm in Celina, Ohio. Mercer County."
Mercer County Community Development Director Jared Ebbing said the new Tri Star facility is by far one of the most impactful projects he's been involved with, more than any business expansion.
"It's a testament to everybody coming together and saying this is important," Ebbing said.
Husted said career education is a win-win for employees, employers and communities.
"My passion's always been economic development and education," he said. "It's very rare that you get to work on something where if you do it right everyone wins."
Students who graduate with career skills get to live their version of the American Dream and businesses gain valuable employees. But it takes the intermediary group of teachers to pull it all together, Husted said.
"Educators don't succeed as serving employers unless they know what the employers need and educators can't serve the students unless they know what the employers need," he asserted. "So when we bring all that together … everybody gets a win."
And that's precisely what's happening at Tri Star, Husted said.
"For young people entering the workforce, you are entering at a great time and there are plenty of jobs and you are in hot demand," he said, citing a retiring baby boomer generation and a lack of incoming workers to replace them.
In fact, OhioMeansJobs website has posted about 250,000 jobs, of which roughly 150,000 pay $50,000 or more a year, Husted said, adding many of those positions don't require a college education.
"Ohio is booming right now. We've got more jobs than we have people to fill them," he said. "We just announced a couple months ago the largest economic development project in the world when Intel announced it was going to build a semiconductor production facility in Central Ohio."
The Unites Sates in a changing world must reshore production from overseas and that requires a talented workforce, he said, which translates to bountiful opportunities, Husted said.
"We're excited about the future. We're excited for your futures," he said.