Kenneth G. Myers Construction hosts 5G Career Expo

Apr 23, 2024 | Featured, Schools | 1 comment

Over 250 students from 16 schools attended the 5G Career Expo at Kenneth G. Myers Construction. (Submitted photo)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

On April 15, about 250 students from 16 local high schools attended a 5G Career Expo hosted by Kenneth G. Myers Construction in Green Springs. The event exposed students to the variety of careers tied to broadband, which is expected to explode across Ohio starting next year.

The event was offered through a collaborative effort between Terra State Community College, the University of Findlay and North Point Educational Service Center (NPESC).

A student attempts to pick up a basketball with an excavator during the 5G Career Expo at Kenneth G. Myers Construction on April 15. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Students who scored high on aptitude tests for broadband-related skills were invited to attend the event. They spent half the school day touring Terra to learn about 5G-related training and certifications offered by the college.

“I wanted them to see the educational component,” said NPESC Workforce Readiness Coordinator Ashley Spangler, who helped organize the event. “I wanted them to have the full picture.”

The other half of the day was spent at Kenneth G. Myers Construction, where they had the opportunity to experience hands-on skills related to broadband careers. They spliced fibers, operated excavators and rode 60 feet in the air in bucket trucks.

Clyde student Kyle Nearhood climbs into the bucket of a bucket truck before ascending 60 feet in the air with Head Lineman John Campbell of Kenneth G. Myers Construction. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“The feedback I’ve received from the students is that they are really enjoying it. It’s all been hands-on,” said Danbury High School College and Career Readiness Coordinator, Koree Hodgkinson. “They’re doing actual real-world work they would do in the field. They’re not just reading about it.”

Oak Harbor student Kaylee Fox said she learned she was good at operating an excavator, which wasn’t as easy as it looked.

Clyde student Kyle Nearhood, left, and Head Lineman John Campbell of Kenneth G. Myers Construction take in the view from 60 feet in the sky. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“I was surprised at how hard it was to do the digging,” said Oak Harbor student Carissa Stoneburner.

Several businesses and schools set up booths during the event, including Terra, the University of Findlay and Croghan Colonial Bank. Terra State Dean of Technology and Skilled Trades, Andrew Shella, said the broadband field is about to explode with career opportunities.

“The federal infrastructure bill is playing a big part in expanding fiber optics so that everyone has access to high-speed internet,” Shella said. “We’re just waiting for the money to be allocated. Once the money is available, we’ll have 20 years of work.”

Cory Whitaker demonstrates fiber splicing during the 5G Career Expo. “I’ve met a lot of kids who were really interested in this. They had really good questions.” (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Shella compares the spread of broadband to the expansion of telephone service a century ago.

“It’s like 100 years ago, when they installed telephone poles across the nation. It’s the same idea – connectivity,” he said. “We found, during COVID, that many people living on country roads didn’t have internet access. Students had to do their schoolwork in the school parking lot or a McDonalds parking lot.”

As of today, there are not enough skilled workers to complete a statewide broadband expansion. That is why the career expo was so timely. The students who attended the event learned they can get on the ground floor of a wave of opportunity.

Terra State Community College Dean of Technology and Skilled Trades, Andrew Shella, left, talks about careers in the broadband industry with Bellevue students Dylan Rice, middle, and Gage Shenberger. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Kenneth G. Myers Construction co-owner, Todd Myers, said there are many career options tied to broadband.

“They include splicing cable, locating, flagging, drilling, aerial construction and underground construction,” he said. “As soon as we get the federal money next year, we’ll have a large need for employees. Every broadband construction company will need employees. We need to get students ready for the industry, so they’ll be ready to do the work.”

Kenneth G. Myers Construction co-owner, Todd Myers, left, opened the business to about 250 students, including Fremont Ross student, Matthew Black. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

The 5G Career Expo helped change the course of some students’ futures, all while they were having fun.

“Going up in the bucket truck was kind of scary because it was shaky when you got to the top, but you could see a lot, and it was a cool experience,” said Danbury student Hunter Wadsworth. “I had already planned to study HVAC at EHOVE, but this may have changed my focus. It was pretty eye-opening.”

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1 Comment

  1. Scott Gresser

    Again, it shows how better job opportunities are elsewhere and not within the borders of Ottawa County. And the OCIC, an organization paid for by the taxpayers of Ottawa County continues to do nothing. Kudos and thanks to Kenneth G. Myers Corporation for taking the time to show students what’s out there for jobs, unlike the OCIC.

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