January 12, 2024

Getting to Know Stark's Manufacturing Partners

Written by guest columnist – Lori Sproul, Human Resources Manager, Powell Electrical Systems and Board Vice President, Stark County Manufacturing Workforce Development Partnership

A Surprising Number

Just how much manufacturing is there in Stark County? Is it a lot, or a little? What do you see in your daily trip to drop-off children at school, going to work, shopping for groceries? You probably pass many of these businesses in your daily activities and don’t even realize it. Maybe you’ve seen the large buildings with signage and logos. Maybe you’ve driven by a steel building without much signage and wondered – what happens there? Well, it may surprise you to learn that there are 550 manufacturers in Stark County! How many can you name? 

Big Name. Bigger Impact.

Let me introduce you to the Stark County Manufacturing Workforce Development Partnership. Yep, it’s a mouthful. How about SCMWDP – not too much easier – but hopefully it makes an impression on you that is unforgettable! The SCMWDP is a manufacturer-led organization that is helping local companies grow by offering seamless career pathways, delivering inclusive training and education and sharing best practices within the manufacturing workforce development community. SCMWDP manufacturing members pride themselves in being good stewards of our environment and our community, bringing innovation, technology, careers, and advancement opportunities to the industry, its workforce, and all of Stark County.

How do we do all of this? Great question! I’m glad you asked. Manufacturing members partner with local schools, community non-profit organizations, government offices as well as other associate members to develop, design and implement programming that will help connect job seekers with the skills needed to fill open jobs.

You may have heard that there are more open jobs than job seekers. Job seekers may not have the vocational skills to fill the jobs. Job seekers may have barriers to employment. Job seekers may not have the soft skills to work in a team environment. Our collective SCMWDP community is committed to creating improved pathways to get the right people in the right jobs.

Connecting to Students

How do you do that? Well, you are really on your game! One of those ways is working with Stark Education Partnership. A new tool being rolled out in local schools, through the support of Stark Education Partnership, is YouScience. This tool is currently available in nine Career Pathway Initiative school

districts. Students as early as middle school can identify their strengths and aptitudes. 

The YouScience tool will match them with possible career choices. Furthermore, it will provide local employers that have jobs to match those career choices. This tool is available as the student continues to grow and learn and can be updated if the student develops new skills and passions.

There is an abundance of opportunity here at home in Stark County. Help us connect with students and to get them thinking about the future. There are entry-level jobs right here at home that can be a building block to a successful career. 

So, What Can YOU Do?

How can you help? If you know a student, talk to them about what they love to do and help connect that passion with career choices. If you are a manufacturer and haven’t already joined the SCMWDP, go to that website link above and register – IT’S FREE. If you are a community member and interested in learning more – check out our website, come to a meeting and learn about all of the exciting things we are doing.

Stark Education Partnership (SEP) provides a much needed support system to local workforce and education entities by acting as a CATALYST for implementing new programs, works as a CONNECTOR of people and organizations, and is viewed as a trusted CORNERSTONE organization in StarkCounty.