Nov 24, 2013

Council hears success of workforce development

BY RYAN BERRY
MANAGING EDITOR
GREENVILLE – Greenville City Council heard from Marc Saluk, director of Darke County Economic Development, at its Nov. 19 meeting. Saluk came at the invitation of Mayor Michael Bowers to share information on the workforce development program in the county.

Saluk shared the city has had good success in economic development with over 1000 jobs retained or added in the city. Because of that success, Darke County Economic Development and Partnering for Progress has shifted gears and has been working to develop a workforce.

Saluk knew this was an issue when a plant manager of one of the largest employers in the county jokingly told him if they were to land a 400-500 job employer he would have to “kill him” for depleting the workforce even more. The truth of the matter, according to Saluk, is companies in the county are already having a hard time finding skilled workers. He was told by another plant manager his corporate office wouldn’t expand in Greenville. The plant manager was told, “You can’t find eight people to hire how are you going to find 80.”

Partnering for Progress and nearly all of the manufacturers have teamed up with the Greenville Career Tech Center (GCTC) to develop a workforce that has the necessary skills to work in manufacturing and healthcare. In the two years since this program began, GCTC has changed its curriculum to incorporate the skills the plant managers have been telling the school they need. Both the current workforce and future workforce are beginning to get the training they need.

In addition, these organizations are working with Job & Family Services on mandatory skills training for persons receiving benefits from the agency. Persons either need to attend the training sessions or they lose their benefits. After attending the Taking Charge of Your Life class, many have gone on to receive training in welding, manufacturing readiness or State Tested Nursing Assistant classes (STNA).

Saluk shared one success story with the STNA class. One of the participants was homeless while she was taking the class. By the time she finished the class she found a job where she could use her training. By the time students in the first STNA graduating class finished their training, 90 percent had already been placed in a job.

The Darke County Probation Department has also witnessed the success this program is having and is considering merging into the program.

Council President John Burkett said, “Members of council have agreed to be part of P4P and now we’re seeing dividends.” Tracy Tryon, council member and teacher in the Greenville City School District, agreed and added students are starting to see what is available locally and the career possibilities at these businesses. He said, “Students are starting to look at staying in the community.” This is good news for the city. The more persons that stay in the community means a larger tax base.

Also during the meeting, Safety/Service Director Curt Garrison touted the success of the Neighborhood Watch groups. They continue to see a lot of success with the neighborhoods reclaiming their streets. More and more Neighborhood Watch signs are going up and he believes this is making a statement, “We are not going to stand for crime.” He encouraged other neighborhoods wanting information on Neighborhood Watch to contact Lt. Steve Strick, 548-1103.

Garrison informed residents leaf pick up will continue until they are done or until the weather no longer permits. The city’s limb pick up has been discontinued until spring. Limbs should not be placed in the leaf piles for pick up.

He also urged persons situated along alleys to cut back trees, bushes and high grass. These can prevent motorists from seeing around corners and are a safety hazard.

In other business, council approved a report from the Utility Committee regarding residential waste collection. The committee suggested extending the stipulations in the current contract for six-months with an option for an additional six months. The city wants to eventually have monthly billing for residential waste collection. The six month contract will give them time to work out the details.

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