SOD Center Brings Workforce Training to Salem

SALEM, Ohio — In an effort to meet the workforce training needs of regional businesses, Sustainable Opportunity Development Center Inc. is building its curriculum and calendar of classes for the new SOD Training Center.

Julie Needs, executive director of the SOD Center, said the training center will operate like a cooperative, with SOD providing the space and bringing in certified trainers to lead the classes.

“We are finding the trainers who are certified to teach whatever curriculum is needed by local industry or local businesses,” Needs said. “Normally, you may be driving to Cleveland or Pittsburgh to get this training, or even farther. We’re bringing it to them locally.”

Needs has met with local business leaders to get an idea of the types of training that is needed. Initially, the center is focusing on manufacturing “because that’s where the highest workforce need is at this point and time,” she said. That curriculum will include trainings for new workers as well as for existing workers who need to increase their skills, she said.

Lesley Kline, training administrator for the SOD Training Center, is establishing the curriculum with classes that will focus on safety training, new-hire onboarding, leadership development, workplace improvement, skills advancement, financial literacy and soft skills. Leadership and supervisor training boot camps are available through a partnership with Kent State University’s Corporate University program.

The training center is also available for rent to area businesses that need space for internal training.

Since opening Nov. 1, the center has hosted a few smaller trainings and has received calls from other organizations interested in conducting classes, Needs said. Staffing agencies want to schedule classes on soft skills training to help get their customers more employable. An upcoming class with the Salem City Police Department will teach active shooter response training for the workplace.

“We’ve even had churches that are registering for that class,” she said.

Located inside the SOD Center at 440 Pennsylvania Ave., the SOD Training Center offers four rooms for group training sessions. Available space includes the main area, which accommodates up to 70 with tables and chairs, and up to 120 with stadium seating. The room features an 80-inch television with computer and smart board.

The main training area can accommodate up to 120 people with stadium seating.

Two smaller spaces sit up to 12 and 8, respectively. The larger of the two includes a TV with HDMI hookup, and the other has a projector with screen. The smaller rooms have been used as breakout spaces during leadership trainings.

A conference area provides space for up to 20 and features a 4K TV with HDMI.

A conference room and two smaller training spaces are also available.

A career counselor for the SOD Training Center will be announced next week, Needs said. The counselor will work in partnership with the Salem High School Alumni Association and Salem City Schools to start introducing students to career pathways.

“We have made a decision on that person and they will be starting next week,” she said, though Needs couldn’t announce yet who it is.

Those interested in attending a class at the SOD Training Center can see the complete schedule as well as information about space rental at or by calling 330 337 7669.

Pictured above: The SOD Training Center officially opened on Nov. 1.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.