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Vantage reps testify at joint meeting in Lima PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 1:53 PM

LIMA — With many state officials and legislators in Lima for Gov. John Kasich’sState of the State address on Tuesday, some committee meetings were held on location, including a meeting which featured representatives of Vantage Career Center.

A joint meeting of the Senate Workforce and Economic Development Committee and the House Manufacturing and Workforce Development Committee was held at Apollo Career Center in Lima. Ten people were chosen to give testimony to the lawmakers — five representing Apollo and five representing Vantage.

“What they wanted to hear were success stories,” related Vantage Superintendent Staci Kaufman before the event. “They wanted to know how things are working.”
Fortunately, both Vantage and Apollo have plenty of success stories from which to choose. Precision machining teacher Larry Ray shared the story of one of his students who was cut off from family support but was able to complete her education and get a job because of the skills she learned at Vantage.

“I would hate to think what would have happened if she had not come to Vantage Career Center,” Ray summarized.

Apollo Superintendent Judy Wells also spoke of a situation where the Apollo staff helped students to the point of providing a place to live for a few months while they finished school.

Also on the agenda was Jim Miller of Miller Precision Manufacturing in Ottoville and Van Wert. Miller’s message was straightforward and was repeated by others giving testimony on Tuesday.

“Where we see manufacturing going in the future is through the use of advanced equipment with the use of rapid changeover to help my customers get to market faster with a quality product at a competitive price. Many of the future needs of manufacturing will require an advanced workforce to make sure this happens,” he stated.

Gene Heitmeyer, general manager of Diamond Manufacturing in Lima, echoed that thought. “We are gathered here today because we are facing a skills crisis, not just a job-creation crisis. And the skills imbalance is not likely to right itself on its own.”

Career centers like Vantage and Apollo are training young people and adults to receive the necessary skills to go out and fill these jobs that are being created. Jared Orzolek of communication tower manufacturer Fort Worth Towers (FWT) of Hicksville and Fort Worth, Texas, noted that before that firm expanded into Ohio, company officials held a panel with career centers and local community colleges to see if a quality workforce could be found in northwest Ohio.

“Our experience with Vantage has been extremely positive,” he testified. “Vantage has included elements of FWT’s manufacturing process in its welder training program. Vantage also provides FWT with technical support and certification testing for each of the welders we hire. Our partnership is a prime example of cooperation between educators and private business that is beneficial to both sides.”

Many legislators and senators expressed their appreciation for the work of career center administration, staff and students. In turn, the Vantage and Apollo representatives thanked the lawmakers for allowing them to testify.

“In summary, Vantage Career Center is diligently working to serve workforce needs in our community,” Kaufman concluded.


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