Emerging from the effects of COVID, Harrison entities have been reenergizing their partnerships to enhance local workforce opportunities. Greater Harrison Chamber of Commerce, City of Harrison, Southwest Local School District (SLSD), Cincinnati State and local companies met recently to discuss enhanced strategies to link employees with employers.
SLSD has taken the forefront in creating new classes and providing credential offerings at the high school so students who are not necessarily bound for college can readily enter the workforce. SLSD administrators have been listening to the needs of local employers the last several years so local positions could be filled, not only by graduates, but also by students who may want to enter into company-based internships and "pre-apprenticeships" that may lead to full employment.
SLSD has developed career pathways for students in the areas of engineering, information technology, advanced manufacturing, construction, health sciences, and maintenance/repair, many of which will provide certifications that companies are seeking in their new hires. Already, area students have utilized these programs to gain real-world experiences on jobs that interest them, while at the same time completing their in-class requirements.
“Many of our students have already begun working for several local companies,” said SLSD Assistant Superintendent Corrine Hayes. “Some attend school part of the day and then earn significant incomes on their jobs the rest of the day. The students and employers love the situation.”
Hayes said SLSD is now poised to expand the offerings at the high school to benefit students and local companies. This school year a new entrepreneurship course was introduced at the junior and high schools. In this class students are tasked with creating a prototype product and taking all the steps required to get it to market, including marketing and securing investors.
SLSD is already looking ahead to the 2023-24 school year to offer new workforce programs. These include three programs in MSSC Certified Technician in Supply Chain Automation and a modern urban farming program in hydroponic technology. Additionally, SLSD and Cincinnati State met recently to discuss a cooperative effort to introduce welding instruction next school year. This is a program that many area companies have expressed keen interest in for their available jobs.
“We have many companies in Harrison that could hire dozens of residents today,” said Mayor Bill Neyer. “It is imperative that the City, Schools, Chamber, Cincinnati State and companies work together to keep offering avenues for employees and employers to link. We want to keep our best and brightest here.”
To help this happen, local workforce program expert and area resident, Cathy Metcalf said she would work with local Harrison companies to secure State of Ohio and Federal grants to assist with providing work experiences to students.
“Depending on the situation, it would be possible for local companies to secure up to $5,900 to assist them in hiring interns and pre-apprentice students,” Metcalf said.
The Chamber will partner with the school district to conduct a job fair for teens and adults March 9. The Chamber also provides employment advertising for members at no cost.
Local companies interested in designing an internship or work experience can contact Corrine Hayes at SLSD (513) 367-4139, ext. 8404. Companies interested in securing grants to employ students may call Cathy Metcalf at (513) 476-3304. More information about the Chamber is available through Sara Cullin at (513) 383-5627.