GREENVILLE - Ramco Electric Motors was named the Partnering for Progress Business of the Quarter on Friday at the quarterly meeting held at Stillwater Golf Course in Versailles.
The recognition this quarter was given to Ramco for their continued and deeply vested interests in the Darke County Workforce Development Center and the subsequent training provided not only for the adult workforce, both employed and unemployed, but also the emerging workforce, Darke County’s youth. It’s an on-going effort, in full swing for the last several years, said Marc Saluk, director of Darke County Economic Development, and workforce development will remain one of Partnering for Progress and Darke County Economic Development’s top priorities.
“We chose Ramco as the Business of the Quarter to bring attention to the great work being done with those companies who aren’t in the news a lot,” Saluk explained. “These companies are still very important to our community. Workforce development is still our number one priority, and there are a lot of people devoting their time to make that a sustainable effort…Ramco has given us a great deal of their time, not just a small sacrifice of time,” Saluk continued. “Wherever we’ve needed them, they’ve been there.”
Dave Dunaway, Ramco Electric Motors, explained that it’s a relationship built in symbiosis.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship, we have to work together to move forward,” Dunaway noted. “What we’re doing is not all that special, it’s what we should be doing…Everyone here is working to help move the community forward.”
Saluk stated that the importance of the partnerships built through the Partnering for Progress initiative cannot be expressed enough, because “when we started…we didn’t even know what workforce development was,” he explained.
Progress has been made throughout the region over the last two years, Julie Sullivan, Dayton Development Coalition, reported.
“Things are breaking loose and coming together,” Sullivan stated. “We’re expecting nearly 8,000 jobs in the region, either through expansion or attraction. It’s an exciting time to be in the Dayton region.”
The Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) does a “great job” fighting for local companies, including those in Darke County, Saluk explained. Darke County has had a growth of approximately 1,500 jobs over the course of Partnering for Progress’ lifetime, he said, adding to the overall success of the Dayton region.
Partnering for Progress will continue to focus on developing a workforce to fill the growing need for skilled employees, Saluk noted. Workforce Specialist Lisa Wendel, Ph.D., reiterated that point by talking about the work currently being done to upgrade the Darke County Workforce Development Center/Greenville Career Technology Center through a $500,000 grant from the state, as well as events to recognize National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 3.
Every 10th grade student in the county will visit a local manufacturer, Wendel commented, in an effort to change the emerging workforce’s mindset of what modern manufacturing looks like.
“We want to give them a chance to see firsthand what manufacturing looks like, and the variety of careers available,” Wendel said. “We also want the larger community to see the benefits of manufacturing,” she added. “…Our vision is that every Darke County student will graduate with the skills to give us a workforce now, and in the future.”
Programs are currently being developed for both the emerging and the adult workforce, and Wendel noted that they’re hoping to begin incumbent workforce training at the start of 2015, and provide training for students with the start of the 2015-2016 academic year.
“Everyone is working to be a part of the solution,” Saluk noted. “We’re hitting this at every level…to get people back to work, because we can’t afford to have them on the sidelines.”
Along with finding solutions to the lack of workforce to fill the growing number of positions available, Saluk said they’re also working to find solutions to other setbacks when it comes to attracting new projects, or even expansions: Darke County doesn’t have enough buildings that meet manufacturer’s requirements, and Darke County doesn’t have enough shovel-ready land to build new, he said.