Taking a new look at work
November 14, 2014
WARREN – Traci Hill said she realized early on that going to college is the right choice for some students, but not all.
Hill, a guidance counselor at Hubbard High School, said she believes all students have the potential to succeed, but not necessarily by choosing the same tracks as their peers.
On Thursday, Hill was among the more than 20 area school counselors who toured two local companies to gain insight about manufacturing jobs and career opportunities.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Virginia Shank
Gregg Richley, left, plant engineer / health and safety manager at Ajax Tocco in Warren, shows area school guidance counselors around the plant. From left are Tina Hentosh, Trumbull Career and Technical Center; Ryan Kistler, LaBrae Schools; and Danielle Fahmy, Champion Schools.
The manufacturing tour, with stops in Warren at Ajax Tocco, which designs and manufactures induction heating and melting equipment, and Gasser Chair Co., a furniture manufacturer in Liberty, was sponsored by the Oh-Penn Manufacturing Collaborative.
The collaborative re-cently received a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The funding is to be used to further career pathways in manufacturing, Cheryl Saffold, Trumbull County career coach with Oh-Penn, said.
One phase of the grant involved taking a “Boot Camp of Guidance Counselors” to visit local manufacturing facilities. Saffold said the boot camp was to expose school counselors to “highly technical and computerized manufacturing” job opportunities available.
“We want guidance counselors to see first-hand the myriad of opportunities that are available for students in the manufacturing arena, once they graduate from high school,” Saffold said.
Gregg Richley, plant engineer and health and safety manager at Ajax, said the Warren plant has several general labor jobs, but most of the positions are for skilled laborers.
“Most of our employees have come from trade or technical schools. We do have some on-site training. We’ve had a hard time finding skilled workers, but that’s really what we need. That’s where a lot of the jobs are now and will continue to be,” said Richley, who led the counselors on the tour of Ajax.
Richley said Ajax’s Warren site has hired more than 50 people this year. He said wages vary depending on skill and experience, and the company is looking for skilled men and women to apply.
“I think sometimes we grow up thinking what we should be, what we should do instead of what we want to be and what we can be,” Richley said. “That’s a shame because what might be right for one person isn’t necessarily right for someone else. It’s better to look at all the options.”
Julie Strollo, a counselor at Niles McKinley High School, said touring the manufacturing facilities gave her a better insight that she can use to guide her students.
“We just want to let them know what’s out there and that there are options other than going to college and pursuing a bachelor’s degree. That’s great for some of our students, but not all of them. I think some of them just get overwhelmed and confused thinking that’s their only option, but there’s so much more out there for them to look at and consider,” Strollo said. email@example.com