On Monday, October 29, Board of Education members from Danbury, Genoa, Oak Harbor, Port Clinton, and Woodmore school districts joined the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council (BAC) and North Point Educational Service Center (NPESC) for a countywide educational leadership program to discuss career readiness initiatives of the BAC, which are aimed at introducing and engaging K-12 students with job readiness, career and educational pathways available in the community.
In existence for five years, the BAC is a partnership between school, business, and community leaders who recognize that building our workforce of the future and retaining talent is vital to meeting the needs of local employers. Additionally, the work of the BAC aligns with Ohio’s Career Readiness Legislation and OhioMeansJobs priorities.
Since 2013, the BAC has coordinated bus tours of manufacturing, healthcare and service/tourism operations for administrators and educators; hosted job fairs for workforce-bound high school seniors to connect students to careers upon graduation; held skilled trades bus tours of local manufacturers for high school juniors and seniors; and assisted elementary and middle schools with the establishment of Ohio State University’s REACH Program curriculum in classrooms.
Other programs administered by the BAC include an annual Ottawa County Career Showcase event for 9th grade students and the CEO Internship Program, a credit-based internship opportunity for high school seniors to “test the waters” in a career field and gain experience in local companies. To date, more than 2,500 9th grade students have participated in the Career Showcase and 21 students have engaged in the CEO Internship Program, which kicked off in 2016. In September, the BAC welcomed Ohio Superintendent Paolo DeMaria to a CEO Internship site and spoke in-depth about how collaboration thrives in Ottawa County. Ohio School Board member, Charles Froehlich (Avon Lake), has taken notice of the BAC work too. “Ottawa County’s BAC is way ahead of the curve. You have a great program in place,” he remarked following Monday’s meeting.
With the help of State Representative Steve Arndt, the BAC received funding from the Ohio Department of Education to build and deploy a workforce attraction campaign that encourages students, who are within the 4 year post-graduation mark, to stay or come home to build their future in Ottawa County. The campaign “Ottawa County: It’s All Here” kicked off in September with the help of area juniors and seniors and includes mailings, social media ads, website and blogs, and employer videos.
“We are fully aware that there is more work to do in building a workforce that meets the needs of our employers,” commented OCIC Director and BAC Administrator Jamie Beier Grant. “What excites me the most is the enthusiasm and drive that our school, business and community leaders have to collectively move the needle on meeting these needs and I am thankful for their ongoing support.”
Ken Williams, BAC Chairman and COO with the Catawba Island Club, remarked “Financial support from the Ottawa County Community Foundation has made our work possible. We are fortunate to have the Foundation’s support and participation in what we do.”
For more information about the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council, please visit www.ocic.biz/ocbac or call Jamie Beier Grant at 419-898-6242.