Champaign County economic group creates new position to link students to local manufacturing jobs

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Champaign Economic Partnership has created a new, part-time position to better connect students in Champaign County with opportunities at area businesses.

Ashley Cook will serve as a business liaison as part of a larger effort to identify potential workers for the county’s manufacturing industry. The CEP is a nonprofit focused on economic development in Champaign County.

“Some of our students need to be informed of these positions,” Cook said.

Cook said the position will entail meeting with human resources staff at local companies like KTH Parts Industries in St. Paris and Rittal North America, LLC. The idea is to get a better idea of what positions need to be filled and whether local students might have an opportunity to get started exploring a career in manufacturing, she said. Cook could also work with local companies to develop internship opportunities and connect with local school district staff members to make them aware of the kinds of jobs that are available.

Debbie Wortman, Satellite director at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center in Bellefontaine, said it’s possible Cook’s position could expand into a full-time job if it is successful.

“There’s been a disconnect in the past of people not understanding what manufacturing today is like,” Wortman said.

Economic officials in both Clark and Champaign Counties have made efforts in recent years to provide better links between students and local companies as one way to retain younger workers in the area.

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