Workforce Collaborative Presents Program Proposal to Wilmington City Council
22 Aug 2023
Clinton County employers and job seekers are a big step closer to a sustainable and consistent workforce development program thanks to a two-year collaborative effort by a set of workforce leaders committed to addressing workforce challenges in the county.
Presenting at Thursday’s Wilmington City Council meeting, Clinton County Workforce Collaborative (Collaborative) representatives Ruth Brindle, Workforce & Data Specialist with the Clinton County Port Authority, and Dessie Rogers, Executive Director of the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, outlined the proposed Workforce Development Program in detail, including the Program’s scope, approach, dedicated staffing, and budget. Leadership-level stakeholders Curt Bradshaw, Assistant Superintendent with the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center (ESC), and Tammy Keller, Job Developer with OhioMeansJobs Clinton County, are also members of the Collaborative Steering Committee responsible for the proposal and partner outreach.
Brindle and Rogers outlined the educational advantages of building a local workforce, beginning with high school curriculum geared toward in-demand skills and training. Focusing on two distinct sectors, business and education, the Program will be able to maximize available resources in both areas. By bringing together expertise, networks, and resources from a diverse collection of organizations, the capabilities of the Program expand dramatically.
There were questions from those in attendance about the timing and viability of the Program, along with statements of support. Brad Reynolds, Human Resources Director with the City of Wilmington, added his perspective on this initiative. “We bounce around a lot of good ideas around here. This is one that would truly impact our citizens and their ability to earn a fair wage. We always seem to be waiting for the next guy to do it. What are we waiting for? This program could help our community from the inside out for years to come.”
The success of the Program hinges on hiring a Workforce Development Director whose sole focus will be on county-wide workforce development efforts. This individual will be housed within the Southern Ohio ESC to enhance the connection to local school districts. Similar successful workforce development programs in numerous counties around Ohio have turned the tide in training and keeping local talent – local. For example, nearby Clark County has developed internship opportunities and apprenticeships for local youth, along with offering many perks to employers through their workforce development program, from assisting employers with practical needs like offering free event space for job fairs, skills assessments, and aptitude testing, to help with retaining existing employees, plus developing outcome measurements specific to each employer. Additionally, the Highland County ACCESS Program is a new workforce development program also housed within the Southern Ohio ESC.
After sharing both the vision and the specifics of what a Workforce Development Program will cost locally, Brindle and Rogers requested that Wilmington City Council entertain funding support to launch this initiative. The Collaborative’s request for funding will be formalized and sent to the appropriate Council committee for review and future action.
The Collaborative Steering Committee is scheduled to discuss the Workforce Development Program Proposal again at the August 23, 2023, meeting of the Clinton County Commissioners at 9:00 a.m., 1850 Davids Drive, Suite 208.