You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Counties developing $1.4M manufacturing lab

Champaign, Logan among 8 counties participating.


Champaign and Logan counties are part of a project to build a $1.4 million mobile manufacturing lab to introduce students to manufacturing techniques and to train local industrial workers.

The effort to train new workers is seen as critical to the region’s future as the current workforce ages and fewer new workers are trained to take their place, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for Champaign County.

More than half of workers in manufacturing in the participating counties are eligible for retirement in the next 10 to 15 years, Bailey said. It has proved difficult to recruit new students into manufacturing-related programs at local career and technical schools such as the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.

“When we looked at the manufacturers in Champaign County and the state, it’s the same thing. It’s not just us facing this issue,” Bailey said.

The targeted region includes Champaign, Logan, Madison, Franklin, Hardin, Marion, Morrow and Union counties. So far, the counties involved have raised about one third of the $1.4 million needed to complete the project.

The lab would serve first as a marketing tool. Later it would be taken to sites across the region to provide basic training for area companies. The lab would raise awareness of the types of manufacturing jobs available locally, and the kinds of skills needed from area employees.

The lab would be outfitted with robotics, computer-aided design and computer numerical control technology.

Local business owners often hear complaints about a lack of good jobs, said Tom Coles, director of human resources for Bundy Baking Solutions in Urbana. The company makes commercial and industrial baking pans and other products.

“We have jobs,” Coles said. “I just can’t find people with the right skill sets.”

Enrollment in manufacturing-related programs at area schools has declined in recent years. In the 2013-2014 school year, there were 153 students enrolled in programs like welding, precision machining and manufacturing engineering at area schools such as the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and the Tri-Rivers Career Center of Central Ohio in Marion.

The 153 students represents only about 6 percent of the total enrollment of the three career and technical centers, and only about 2 percent of the area’s total K-12 enrollment.

The mobile lab would be based on similar programs that have been successful in Michigan and Wisconsin, and would travel throughout the eight participating counties, Bailey said.

“It’s a marketing tool basically,” Bailey said of the mobile lab. “Kindergarten through 12th grade students are the target area, but we’re not just trying to market to students. We’re marketing to their caregivers who help them make the decisions of what they want to be when they grow up.”

In addition to the lab, the project would also seek to establish permanent manufacturing labs to train current workers at the career and technical centers. Each of the three schools already have labs, but the program could provide funding for better equipment and help develop a curriculum based on what skills local companies are looking for.

Manufacturing overall lost jobs during the Great Recession, but the industry has been making a comeback, said Chris Millice, vice president of general administration at KTH, a St. Paris manufacturing firm. KTH has been in business for close to 30 years, Millice said, and many workers have been with the firm for their entire careers.

Many younger workers lost interest in the industry because they believe the work offers low pay and high stress, but that’s often not the case for skilled workers, Millice said.

“Technology is changing,” he said. “It’s cleaner, it’s faster and there’s a lot of automation going on.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Trump’s plan to neuter the White House press corps

Tyrants don’t allow open questioning, and they hate the free press. They want total control. That’s why, according to three senior officials on the transition team, the incoming Trump administration is considering evicting the White House press corps from the press room inside the White House and moving them — and news conferences...
Guide to our inauguration coverage
Guide to our inauguration coverage

The inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president is Friday and we have all of the angles covered for you to keep up with this event as it happens. Some of our team of reporters are already in Washington getting ready for this week’s events. Our team in D.C. includes: WHIO-TV reporter Jim Otte will be talking with elected officials and getting...
Dating website matches Trump supporters
Dating website matches Trump supporters

One California man wants to "make dating great again" with a Trump-themed dating website. Trump Singles is a not-quite-new, but suddenly ignore-at-your-own-peril dating site is aimed squarely at supporters of the president-elect. Founder David Goss launched the site in May 2016 for "like minded" people with the same political views...
Person drives $385K Ferrari off bridge in Austin, goes airborne for 40 feet, officials say
Person drives $385K Ferrari off bridge in Austin, goes airborne for 40 feet, officials say

A person who was charged with driving under the influence drove a $385,000 Ferrari off a bridge in Austin, Texas, went airborne for 40 feet and crashed into the woods while speeding on Friday night, Austin fire officials said Tuesday. >> Read more trending stories  The driver and two other occupants had only minor injuries, fire officials...
TV star Todd Chrisley’s daughter seriously injured in car accident
TV star Todd Chrisley’s daughter seriously injured in car accident

Get-well wishes are going out to Savannah Chrisley, daughter of Todd and Julie Chrisley from the USA series “Chrisley Knows Best.” Savannah Chrisley was driving in a rainstorm Monday night when she reached down to fix her floor mat. The floor mat became wedged under the gas pedal and her car veered into a guardrail as soon as she looked...
More Stories