Ohio Tech Centers Offer Free Training to Help Bridge Skills Gap

The goal of the training is to fill jobs left open from retirements along with growth opportunities at area companies.

by Kalea Hall, Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio / April 19, 2017 0
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(TNS) -- The Mahoning and Shenango Valleys need skilled workers.

The Greater Oh-Penn Manufacturing Apprenticeship Network is doing the work to get 300 apprentices in five years.

To achieve that goal, Workforce Investment Areas of Mahoning and Trumbull counties, the Wean Foundation and Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, or LIFT, are covering the cost of certified production technician (CPT) training at Trumbull Career and Technical Center and Mahoning County Career and Technical Center in Canfield.

“This really opens the door” to a career in the skilled trades, said Bob Lidle, industrial and building trades coordinator for TCTC.

The training is really an introduction to manufacturing, Lidle explained, so the students can be prepared to further their education and go on to have a career as a machinist, welder, industrial maintenance worker or tool and die maker.

While the training isn’t a necessary requirement for machining or welding programs, having this training gives students “a leg up” in those programs, Lidle said.

“The message we are trying to get out here is the opportunity,” he said.

The CPT training provides students with seven credentials in seven weeks. Students in the training learn safety skills, manufacturing processes and production, quality practices and measurement and maintenance awareness. They work in the classroom and online.

“From our standpoint, we think it will be good [for students] to gain some credentials,” said Bert Cene, director of the Workforce Development Board. “It will give them some good background. Employers are still looking for skilled workers, especially in the machining trade and welding trade.”

The goal of the training is to fill open jobs from retirements and growth at area companies. The region has 2,833 manufacturing job openings annually, according to the apprenticeship network. In the next 10 years, there are expected to be 6,686 workers retiring.

The network, which is managed by the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and West Central Job Partnership, received a $2.9 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to partially reimburse employers for apprenticeships. The five-year grant is in its second year.

The network had 25 apprentices last year. It plans to have 50 and 75 each year for the last three years of the grant’s life.

The coalition was formed by manufacturers five years ago to address the need for skilled workers. Today, the coalition is comprised of manufacturers and education institutions.

Applications for the free training at TCTC will be taken through May 1 and through June 12 for the training at MCCTC. Limited seating is available. For information, visit www.industryneedsyou.com or call 330-480-4384, ext. 1207 or 1214.

©2017 Vindicator (Youngstown, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.