Nearly 100 people met at the John C. Myer Convocation Center at Ashland University on October 30th for the annual summit. Attendees listened to speakers discuss their solutions to the limited workforce challenges throughout the region.
Kristi Clouse, Executive Director of Operations, Jobs Ohio shared with the crowd more detail about the structure of Jobs Ohio and how it relates to their efforts in workforce and training development. One area of focus is apprenticeships which is a valuable resource for both employers and employees.
A panel of three including Carrie McElevey, Group Training Leader of Schaeffler in Wooster, Maribeth Eckert, Senior Human Resource Business Partner at Charles River, Ashland, and Kevin Long, Plant Manager at Step2, Perrysville, all shared unique strategies for both hiring and retention. Apprenticeships, flexible schedules, employee incentives, multiple shifts, and training were just a few of the ways these employers have found to be successful in filling the employee gap.
Joanne Mueller, Vice-President Human Resources at Cedar Point was the final keynote speaker. Cedar Point has many creative and valuable solutions for filling their workforce. Everything from on-site housing to international Work and Travel (WAT) Groups provide the number of employees they need to fill their positions during the summer. Employees range in age from 14 to 80, with a 90 year old still on staff.
A highlight of the annual summit is always the Community Service Award. This year, Barbie Lange, recent Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce retiree was honored. “Thank you very much. I mean, like all of us, we’re just doing work as best we can, that God has given us to do”, Barbie stated.
Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center Interact Students helped set up the event, greeted attendees, assisted with locating their name badges, and directed attendees to their seats. Students sat at various tables with area businesses during the program and learned a great deal about local businesses.
Business owners and employees as well as attendees from education and state organizations all gleaned much information from the event.