Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Training Program Launched

Businesses, government, and education team up to address skills gap in local workforce

DARKE COUNTY- After months of planning, the first stage of Partnering for Progress’s (P4P) workforce development initiative has been launched with the recent issuance of a training curriculum designed, in conjunction with the area’s businesses, to address the oft-spoke of skills gap in Darke County’s existing workforce. The program will be based at Greenville High Schools’ Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) but will also include partners such as the Darke County Job Center and Edison Community College. According to officials, initial training will largely focus on employees in the manufacturing sector and is designed to give companies the opportunity to provide local, affordable, and customizable training to their new and existing workforce.

“Many area employees, including some in neighboring counties, had a hand in helping us craft this initial course offering,” explained Darke County Economic Development Director Marc Saluk. “We will always keep this a program driven by the input of local companies since this is obviously the best way to ensure that our employers have the specific skills training they need available to fuel their current and future growth.”

According to Saluk, several large manufacturers have already expressed an interest in having courses customized for specific training needs in areas such as machining, maintenance, hydraulics, and manufacturing readiness. He states that, although the initial course catalog does include generalized curriculum, the initiative’s ability to design customized classes across a broad range of disciplines is the true growth engine for the project.

“That’s the best way to ensure that our workforce is getting trained specifically to meet the needs of business and industry in the West Central Ohio area,” said Saluk. “We are also lucky enough to have consultants working on this effort that have extensive experience in manufacturing skills training.”

The consultants, ProtoGen Group, LLC, includes staff experienced in developing workforce solutions for business and industry in conjunction with Sinclair Community College, Edison Community College, Upper Valley Joint Vocational School, and the Ohio Department of Development, among others.

The incumbent worker training program is the first stage of an initial three-tiered approach to implementing a workforce development solution for Darke County. According to Partnering for Progress officials, the initiative is also preparing to launch a manufacturing awareness campaign and a manufacturing readiness initiative which is designed to assist the under-employed and under-skilled segment of the population to be better prepared for positions in the local manufacturing community.

Questions about the training curriculum can be directed to Jon Heffner of ProtoGen Group, LLC at 937-526-5315 or 937-658-3641. Questions about Darke County’s workforce development initiative or about Partnering for Progress can be directed to the Economic Development Office at 937-548-3250

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