Lake and Geauga Counties Manufacturing K-12 Partnership
State Representative Ron Young presented a check to Lake and Geauga County Schools.
“We’re happy to be a part of such a strong commitment. The funds will be used for a website and marketing efforts to communicate the message about the opportunities in Lake and Geauga County for our students and families to connect with local businesses,” said Dr. Brian Bontempo, Superintendent of Lake County Educational Service Center and Auburn Career Center. “I would like to thank our representatives for their support and also thank Joe Spiccia, Superintendent of the Wickliffe City School District, and Julie Ramos, Wickliffe City School District’s Director of Innovation, for their leadership and work to make this possible.”
“This partnership was created among local manufacturing businesses and K-12 educators to develop a systematic centralized process for managing activities across the region. With funding support from the Cleveland Foundation and the State of Ohio, an organization and software was created and NEXTWORK was born,” said Spiccia and Ramos. “NEXTWORK was created to address the workforce needs and serve as a catalyst to economic prosperity in Lake and Geauga Counties and the entire region. While manufacturing is the first career cluster NEXTWORK is addressing, there are plans to expand its reach into healthcare, information technology, the building/construction trades and the financial sector.”
This project seeks to prepare students of Lake and Geauga counties for quality job opportunities in the manufacturing industry by providing them with the exposure, training, and life skills necessary to succeed. It also assists in sustaining and expanding manufacturing, which currently accounts for 20% of the workforce in these counties.
“Helping young people gain the skills necessary to find productive, fulfilling and high paying jobs I believe should be the top priority of our public school system,” said Representative Young. “Training and exposing our kids to these in-demand advanced manufacturing opportunities definitely contribute to that mission. The bottom line is these dynamic companies need skilled and motivated talent. Why not provide that talent locally?” Young continued, “I am proud to support programs like these. They enrich the lives of our young people, help keep more of them in Lake County, increase the productivity and help to increase the overall wealth of the whole region.”
The partnership fosters a unique environment in which the leaders of the manufacturing community can collaborate with the leaders in K-12 education to establish mutually beneficial programming.
“Collaborations like this are part of what is going to make Ohio the greatest place in America to live and work to raise a family. When you have purposeful people in education and business working together, it is easy to get behind it as a legislature and help them along so they can achieve everything they can possibly do,” said Senator Eklund. “This is going to be great for the community. It’s going to be great for the students who will benefit from these projects.” “I would like to thank Ron Young and Senator Eklund for bringing these dollars to Lake County that will help provide the resources for an industry that is in need of skilled workers,” said Lake County Commissioner Jerry Cirino.