DeWine: Valley is a manufacturing model | News, Sports, Jobs
YOUNGSTOWN – The manufacturing industry in the Mahoning Valley has been hit due to a severe labor shortage, but its dedication to growing the industry has Gov. Mike DeWine believe it is of an example for the rest of Ohio.
DeWine has completed its manufacturing day tour of several Ohio manufacturing facilities at Taylor-Winfield Technologies in Youngstown. DeWine listened to the thoughts and concerns of members of the Mahoning Valley Manufacturing Coalition during a panel discussion following his factory tour. MVMC focuses on the labor needs of manufacturers in the region, and one need has recently stood out above the rest: people.
DeWine said the solution to this need begins with the next generation. Cultivating an interest in manufacturing among young students is crucial, and DeWine said the mix of education and business is a step in the right direction.
“The mesh of the education system and the business is absolutely essential, you have to have two things – a person has to have skills or be ready to acquire those skills, and they have to be excited about what they are doing and interested in it.” , DeWine said.
Representatives from the career and technical centers in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties stressed the importance of recruiting for their programs to create a “pool” of manufacturing employees. Mahoning Valley Career and Tech Center Superintendent John Zehentbauer said the schools were working together rather than against each other to provide the industry with quality workers.
“We used to compete for these same kids, but now we all understand that this industry deserves what we can give them, and we have to work together as partners,” Zehentbauer said.
While recruiting is a challenge in itself, Michelle Fleming, mechanical engineer at Taylor-Winfield Technologies, believes schools need to cast a wider net when recruiting.
Growing up in downtown Youngstown, she thought she would be surrounded by other downtown students in her engineering classes at Youngstown State University, but the majority of her classmates were from the suburbs. She told DeWine that she was concerned about Youngstown’s academic issues and that an entire population is missing the industry.
“We miss a lot of people and potential students because our students aren’t getting what they need to move forward, and if they can, they think it’s too difficult,” he said. Fleming said.
She told DeWine that a change needed to be made in the city, and he said he was ready to start the discussion.
DeWine said there is always room for improvement, but he is enthusiastic and optimistic about the valley’s manufacturing industry and its ability to recruit workers.
“No one does it better than the Mahoning Valley; if you look around this table, we have educators and manufacturers coming together, and that’s what we absolutely must have, ”he said.