Manufacturers Coalition Builds Training Initiatives

By Jessica Borza, MVMC Executive Director
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — In 2017, the Ohio Manufacturers Association cited the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition program as the best model to follow if manufacturers are to fill their need for skilled tradesmen.

Since its inception in 2011, The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition has been at the forefront of addressing manufacturing workforce issues. And last fall, we presented an endorsement system to ensure consistent quality and responsive curricula.

Programs that received our seal of approval consist of Eastern Gateway Community College’s new machining technology associate degree program, Trumbull Career & Technical Center’s adult machine trades program and machining programs at the career and technical centers in Mahoning and Columbiana counties.

The coalition is working with Youngstown State University, Eastern Gateway and other partners to advance the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center in downtown Youngstown. When completed, this $30 million training center in the former misdemeanant jail will provide students with the equipment and instruction to acquire the skills local manufacturers need.

The coalition launched its industrial maintenance group apprenticeship program last fall. And, like the machining apprenticeship program the year before, the industrial maintenance apprenticeship program enables small- to mid-sized companies to plug into a training program and receive grant funding through the Greater Oh-Penn Apprenticeship Network to offset their costs.

This year, the coalition may add a group welding apprenticeship, and we are organizing a class of machining apprentices in partnership with the Columbiana County Career & Technical Center.

Also this year, the coalition is transitioning to new leadership. Founder Brian Benyo of Brilex Industries is now immediate past president with Dale Foerster of Starr Manufacturing succeeding him as president.

A priority this year is welcoming all manufacturers, regardless of size or sector, to join us in growing the pipeline of the next generation of manufacturing workers. Specifically, MVMC will organize an affinity group of extruders to dive more deeply into their needs and tailor solutions.

MVMC will soon launch WorkAdvance 2.0 in which companies will identify talent who have the potential for upward mobility, then work with the coalition to tailor training and coaching of those employees. And the coalition will work with companies to enhance their recruitment efforts.

Editor’s Note: This story was published in The Business Journal’s Growth Report 2018. The 144-page edition features growth reports from more than 200 local businesses and organizations. It was published this week. If you are not a subscriber, CLICK HERE to purchase a copy or call Eileen Lovell at 330 744 5023 Ext. 1008.

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