Economic Development

Compco Quaker Plant Gets $200K to Expand Training

LEETONIA, Ohio – Compco Quaker Manufacturing in Salem plans to use a $200,000 Regional Job Training Grant to continue to develop its training program for existing and future employees, said Penny Traina, executive director of the Columbiana County Port Authority at its board meeting Monday.

“We have always been very focused on educating people and helping them be able to do the best job we can for our customers who are ultimately our boss,” said Greg Smith, chairman of the board for Compco. “We take that seriously and this grant gave us an opportunity to extend that further and give the people at Compco more opportunities to learn and grow.”

The Regional Job Training Program was developed to help increase the knowledge, education and skills of Ohio’s Appalachia communities by supporting training efforts to equip Ohio’s workforce with additional skills to grow the economy and prepare for high-demand jobs.

The Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association, or Omega, has $1 million available for this program through the Casino License Fee Fund.

A year ago, Traina and Tad Herold, director of the Columbiana County Development Department, toured Compco Quaker Manufacturing and learned that Compco was interested in expanding its employee training program.

“Because we were on the tour, we were able to see the needs. And as this grant came through Omega we were able to share that with Compco,” Traina said. “This is another example of how the Columbiana County Development Department, Port Authority and local government came together.”

Compco manufactures tooling used to stamp parts for the automotive, recreational vehicle and outdoor power industries. Its robotics welding capabilities can perform value-added processes to metal components. One of the automotive industries it supplies is Harley-Davidson, Traina noted.

The Columbiana County Port Authority will administer the $200,000 grant to Compco and Compco plans to match the grant with $100,000. The total project will be $300,000 and start in January.

In-staff personnel will work to develop training curriculum, teach subject matter and develop hands-on learning for current and future employees through the company’s intranet site.

Compco is working with the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center as part of the Salem Area Industrial Training Center & Workforce Initiative, collaborating with other local businesses and partnering with the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center for job placement.

With the funds, Compco plans to train its 300-plus employees, improve 375 businesses, create 50-plus jobs and work with more than 125 students over the next two years.

The training program will be “a complete catalog of education from soft to hard skills,” Smith said. “You’ll be able to learn leadership, teamwork, writing, how to publicly speak, as well as how to run our machines. We already have some of this and we’re integrating and expanding onto this.”

In other matters at the meeting, the board of the Columbiana County Port Authority approved the lease agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industry America Inc. to downsize its space at the Port Authority’s Leetonia Industrial Building, 600 Cherry Fork Ave.

The agreement effective Oct. 1 states that Mitsubishi Heavy Industry America is reducing its operation space from 68,000 square feet to 11,820 square feet. The rent will be $3 per square foot, or $35,460 annually.

Chuck Coristin, general manager of Mitsubishi Heavy Industry America, would not say why the company is downsizing, only that it is currently “restructuring” its operations.

Traina said the port authority will “heavily market” the soon-to-be vacant space, which has cranes that can be used for industrial businesses.

Pictured at top: Compco Quaker Manufacturing in Salem.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.