Ottawa County Business Advisory Council teams up with North Point to host Manufacturing Boot Camp

Teachers learn about the manufacturing process for making Avian X turkey hunting decoys at Zink Calls in Port Clinton.

Twenty-one teachers from Benton-Carroll-Salem Local School District, Danbury Local Schools, Genoa Local Schools, Port Clinton City School District and Woodmore Local Schools recently completed the first Ottawa County Teacher Manufacturing Boot Camp. The focus was to introduce local teachers to the variety of manufacturing career pathways available within area businesses and the possible career opportunities for local students.

Participating businesses included Davis Besse, Lakefront Marina, Northern Manufacturing, Port Clinton Manufacturing, The Chipmatic Company, U.S. Gypsum and Zink Calls. Teachers were challenged to engage in employer activities, learn about the diversity of products and services, what vocational and soft skills are needed by local employers, and current and future job opportunities within each business.

“The importance of soft skills resonated with me,” said Jill Cecil, seventh grade intervention specialist at Benton-Carroll-Salem Local School District. “These skills are needed for every single job, whether it’s the seven businesses we visited this week or another job that you were to walk into, these skills are crucial in the workplace.”

“Attention to detail is huge,” said Paul Patterson, a high school math teacher at Genoa Local Schools. “Every note I took from each of the businesses included something regarding attention to detail. The hands-on/technical skills can be learned at the business or you can pursue training. There are several different avenues for these students.”

“There are other options besides college that students need to consider, or at least be aware of,” said Holly Szepiela, a high school Spanish teacher at Genoa Local Schools. “A lot of the Ottawa County businesses offer tuition assistance and on-the-job training, where students can avoid college debt all together, if this is the path for them.”

Teachers participating in the Boot Camp will receive graduate credit hours from Ashland University. A final component to the Boot Camp was teacher presentations to a panel of local business leaders, colleagues and Business Advisory Council members.

Participants spoke about their experiences during the boot camp, what they learned about each business and how they are going implement the information into their curriculum.

Adam Downs, an eighth- and ninth-grade agriculture teacher at Benton-Carroll-Salem Local School District, mentioned that part of his curriculum will include blueprint reading.

“I have never done this with students before, but everywhere we went the employees had to read blueprints or schematics. I don’t expect students to look at a blueprint and be able to build a house. What I want to do is to get them exposed to the basics, such as what they need to look for and how to read the legend.”

Kerry Fial, sixth grade English teacher at Port Clinton City School District, talked about one of the projects she plans to implement into her curriculum. The project touched on engaging critical thinking in young manufacturers. Part of the project would include students working as a team to solve scenario that are given in a “mystery box.” Students would have five minutes to problem solve the scenario together as a team.

There would then be a five minute Q&A from judges as to what thought processes were used, and whether students relied on the strengths and weaknesses of their peers.

“If it’s exciting for them, they’re going to think ‘Well, I can do this. I can fix a leaky pipe. I know how to change a tire if someone is there to help me.’ These students are 11, 12, 13 years old so if they can have the confidence and excitement about this, I think that’s half the battle.”

The Ottawa County Teacher Manufacturing Boot Camp was organized by the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council and North Point Educational Service Center. For more information about the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council, visit www.ocic.biz/ocbac. For more information about the North Point Educational Service Center, visit www.npesc.org.

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