Chandler Grooms, Workforce Development Manager, was invited to participate in Northwest Ohio Tech Prep’s first SuccessBound conference of the season, New Trends in Workforce Development and Education. On behalf of TSEP and Northwest Career Ready, Grooms was asked to join a panel on business advisory councils and to present the work of Northwest Career Ready. Also on the panel were Dan Leffingwell, Superintendent of Noble Local School District, and Andrea Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and PD at North Point ESC.
Below is the presentation on Northwest Career Ready and summaries which follow along to the slides.
- Introduction: Presented by Chandler Grooms – Workforce Development Manager, TSEP; BAC Manager – Northwest Career Ready
- Creation of Regional BAC: Northwest Career Ready is a regional business advisory council formed in 2021 from two former BAC’s in the region: The Tiffin City Schools BAC & the NCOESC BAC. Three other partners have been instrumental in making NCR a reality: Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers, and Terra State Community College.
- BAC Region and Membership: NCR’s territory covers four counties: Seneca, Wyandot, Crawford, Richland; and there are currently 13 school districts and the NCOESC that are represented by the BAC.
- Unique Connection to Economic Development: With the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership playing a key role in the BAC and serving as the home of the BAC Manager, Northwest Career Ready has the unique ability to access programs and resources from an active economic and workforce development organization. TSEP engages daily with business and industry professionals across the region, and that connection will provide easier access to a network of business support for Northwest Career Ready.
- Steps to Success: These six steps define our key focus areas for year 1 of Northwest Career Ready. They are discussed in detail on the following slides.
- Marketing: In bringing NCR to fruition, it was quickly realized that a marketing plan would be necessary to create a reliable brand that will build credibility in the mission of the BAC. Step one was establishing that branding image. The logo you see on the slides throughout the presentation was developed in this process. The next step was to create a website to serve as the hub for all of Northwest Career Ready’s information, action, and resources. And finally, NCR will develop targeted communication strategies via the website, email, social media, and brochures.
- Defining the Organizational Structure: As a regional business advisory council, it is important to develop a governing structure that allows for the best representation of our region’s education and business communities. Each of NCR’s member schools as well as the Educational Service Center will gain representation on the voting board of the BAC. An equal number of business and industry professionals will also receive a seat at the table, allowing both sides to join in the discussion on how to best serve our students and our community. It is also important to develop valuable committees and working groups that will serve as the boots on the ground for important initiatives and programs that the BAC will develop.
- Develop New Ideas: One of the most impactful duties of Northwest Career Ready is to engage students in work-based learning. Utilizing the resources that our region offers and learning from other BAC’s and groups that are doing similar work, we can create new and exciting opportunities for students to explore career pathways and connect with their communities.
- Support What’s Already Happening: Just as important it is for the BAC to design new ideas, it is equally important for Northwest Career Ready to support and assist the great programs and opportunities that are already out there. An example of one of those programs is the Manufacturing Showcase lead by the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services/OhioMeansJobs. This program is a fantastic opportunity for manufacturers to engage and interact with high school freshmen, and to teach valuable employability skills and attributes. NCR is happy to support programs like this that are already delivering results.
- Business Engagement: Being able to showcase how the business advisory council can benefit businesses is key to building partners in work-based learning. Having businesses that want to contribute, but also see the long-term benefit of our work is important. For the business community, working with NCR is a new way to tackle the workforce issues that so many companies are struggling with. Our goal, through work-based learning, is to help fill local workforce shortages with young people who may not be aware of all of the amazing opportunities that are available right in their communities.
- Building Our Network: Northwest Career Ready cannot achieve all of its goals on its own. Building a network of partners and resources, not only internally but also externally, is key to the long-term success of this initiative. There are many other great organizations and business advisory councils to learn from across the state, and we look forward to learning and sharing best practices to provide the most opportunities for our students.
- You Can’t Be What You Can’t See: Finally, I think this quote sums up the most important idea to remember as we continue the work of the business advisory council. The more we can expose young people to all the future career pathways that are available, the more likely they will find the perfect fit and be able to make the best choices for themselves. There are many great opportunities out there, but if students are never shown, we can’t expect them to follow those pathways.