SIDNEY — Deb McDermott, director of the Shelby County Workforce Partnership, addressed members of the Kiwanis Club of Sidney during the latter’s Sept. 14 meeting.
The mission of the organization is to align the workforce and education systems to respond to the skills needed of business and industry in Shelby County, she said. Schools and industry will work together to build workforce training and 21st-century skills-development programs that will prepare students and employees for current and future, local jobs.
In 2010, what was then the Western Ohio Development Council hosted a discussion with representatives of local industry and learned that a challenge to overcome was the lack of skilled workers. That is still an issue today as many companies are looking for workers.
In 2013, what grew out of these discussions was the Shelby County Workforce Partnership. Today, there are 40 local companies partnering with Sidney High School and other county schools to help match students with job openings.
In the classroom, students are taught about the skills needed in the workplace: eye contact, a firm handshake, proper attire, communication skills, conflict resolution and others.
On Sept. 22 and 23, the Workforce Partnership will be sponsor a Career Exploration Academy, through which students can begin to better understand careers in the real-world. The students will be given the opportunity to select the careers they will learn about.