On Thursday, May 15, representatives from local school districts, Joint Vocational Schools, and Terra Community College joined with the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation (OCIC) and United Way in Ottawa County for a second bus tour focusing on local career opportunities in the service and tourism sector.
The program was held in follow-up to a December 2013 Manufacturing Bus Tour, giving school leadership and guidance counselors a first-hand look into the vast service and tourism career opportunities in the area. The program was sponsored by the Catawba Island Club, Magruder Hospital, OCIC, and United Way in Ottawa County.
Similar to the December manufacturing tour, participants were able to visit and get an in-depth look at the skills necessary to work in Ottawa County’s service and tourism sector, a sector that is abundant and unique to the community. “With the recent opening of the Hospitality Management Program at Terra Community College, Ottawa County’s Marine Skills Program, and the various healthcare certification and degree programs in our area, it is evident that the continuing education opportunities are here to support our service and tourism industries,” said OCIC Director, Jamie Beier Grant.
Catawba Island Club and Lake Erie Marine Trades Association (Port Clinton), Jet Express (Port Clinton), Magruder Hospital (Port Clinton), The Boardwalk (Put-in-Bay), and the Stoiber Family Businesses (Put-in-Bay) hosted the group of 26 participants.
Businesses talked about the importance of math and blueprint reading when maneuvering and launching boats, the expected shortages of particular healthcare occupations, and the expectations employers have when looking to hire individuals. Lance Woodworth, General Manager and Captain at The Jet Express, specifically noted, “With the new generation of electronic diesel engines, mechanics must possess a skill set that utilizes old school mechanical knowledge along with a sound understanding of the new technology. Mechanics must know how to apply each in diagnosing problems and completing repairs.” Mr. Woodworth went on to note, “When hiring, we look for a solid foundation of mechanical knowledge and will train the right individual on our systems.”
Nicole DeFreitas spoke about the educational opportunities in hospitality management available within the Northwest Ohio region.
“The business tours have created a tremendous opportunity for collaboration between both the education and business communities. The opportunity to effectively merge these two will undoubtedly have a significantly positive impact on our schools, our businesses and our entire community,” commented Port Clinton Middle School Principal, Carrie Sanchez. Similarly, Chris Galvin, Area Director of United Way in Ottawa County, reflected on the tour and noted, “The dialogue among businesses, the schools and community representatives underpin the goals of the United Way to be sure that every child in Ottawa County graduates from school with the skills and a plan for a successful life.”
The group was also joined by Ottawa County Commissioners, members of the OCIC Executive Board and board members of the United Way in Ottawa County.