Northwest Career Ready

Northwest Career Ready invited to join panel on Business Advisory Councils

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.

  1. Introduction: Presented by Chandler Grooms – Workforce Development Manager, TSEP; BAC Manager – Northwest Career Ready
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

Northwest Career Ready approves by-laws, logo

Local business advisory council hears update on recent Manufacturing Showcase

Students participate in a virtual-reality welding demonstration organized by Sentinel CTC faculty and students during the 2021 Seneca County Manufacturing Showcase.

TIFFIN, OHIO – November 23, 2021 – Northwest Career Ready (NCR), a regional business advisory council, held its second quarterly meeting of the 2021-2022 academic year Nov. 18 at Fostoria City Schools. During the meeting, the 36 members in attendance approved NCR’s by-laws and new logo and discussed the committee structure and heard updates on various work-based learning initiatives happening across the region.

“Some very big steps have been made so far in creating a successful foundation for Northwest Career Ready,” said Chandler Grooms, Workforce Development Manager for Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership and Manager of the business advisory council. “We were able to get approval of some key items at the quarterly meeting, and I think we continue to see how important the work of the business advisory council is. A lot of great things are already happening, and I look forward to contributing to more opportunities for the students that Northwest Career Ready serves.”

One of the programs discussed was the Seneca County Manufacturing Showcase. The showcase returned to Tiffin University’s Heminger Center to host approximately 500 high school freshmen in the half day event on Oct. 8. Now in its sixth year, the Seneca Department of Job and Family Services/OhioMeansJobs – Seneca County partnered with local organizations and manufacturers to return the event to an in-person format after going virtual in 2020.

 “I’m glad that we were able to have an event in 2020, but I’m excited we were able to have an in-person experience this year,” said Carol Owen, Business Services Consultant for OhioMeansJobs Seneca County. “Thank you to Tiffin University for hosting and to the schools and employers that participated.

The Manufacturing Showcase is an opportunity for freshmen students to learn about careers in manufacturing and participate in various demonstrations, focusing on key skills such as team building, lean manufacturing, employability, machining, supply chain, and mechanical engineering/automation.

Twelve manufacturing employers volunteered to lead demonstrations for the event, including American Fine Sinter, American Plastics, Ameriwood Industries, Arnold Machine, Church & Dwight, Clouse Construction, Grammer, Mennel Milling, National Machinery, Taiho Corp. of America, Vaughn Industries, and Webster Industries. Sentinel Career and Technology Center faculty also lead demonstrations, and several Sentinel students assisted with the event as well.

Eight schools participated in this year’s in-person showcase: Calvert Catholic, Fostoria City High School, Hopewell-Loudon High School, Mohawk High School, New Riegel High School, North Central Academy, Old Fort High School, and Seneca East High School.

Since its inception in 2016, approximately 3,250 Seneca County freshmen have been exposed to careers in manufacturing. The showcase is just one program that Northwest Career Ready looks to support and build upon for future years to come.

About Northwest Career Ready

Northwest Career Ready serves as the regional business advisory council for 13 public and private schools across Seneca, Wyandot, Crawford, and Richland Counties. The business advisory council is made up of education, business, economic development, and community leaders across the region. NCR is dedicated to building collaboration between the business and education community and creating opportunities for students to gain exposure of future career pathways in their community.

Northwest Career Ready submits regional workforce education plan to the State

Regional Business Advisory Council includes 15 school districts and 48 members

Northwest Career Ready BAC Members approve the plan on September 23, 2021

TIFFIN, OHIO – October 1, 2021 – Northwest Career Ready announced today that it has both approved its first plan of work and submitted it to the Ohio Department of Education. The plan details how the regional Business Advisory Council (BAC) will identify labor market needs and employability skills, build partnerships between business and industry, and develop work-based learning programs for the 2021/22 academic year. The plan can be viewed at

Vanguard-Sentinel Superintendent Greg Edinger is pleased with the progress. “We are proud to be part of the NCR Business Advisory Council and pleased with the collaboration of the BAC members. We look forward to making meaningful impacts in the future. Our aim is to help more students throughout the region find career and life success through work-based learning.”

The following 15 school districts are currently participating, serving students throughout six counties: Buckeye Central Local School District, Calvert Catholic Schools, Carey Exempted Village Schools, Fostoria City Schools, Hopewell-Loudon Schools, Mount Gilead School District, Mohawk Local School District, New Riegel Local School District, North Central Academy, Old Fort Local School District, Ontario Local School District, Seneca East Local School District, Shelby City Schools, Tiffin City Schools, and Upper Sandusky Exempted Village Schools. Nineteen business and industry members representing several area companies such as American Fine Sinter, Arnold Machine Inc., Laminate Technologies, LiquiBox, Mercy Health, Roppe Corporation, Superior Credit Union, and Vaughn Industries also are a part of the initiative.

Managing the initiative is Chandler Grooms, the new Workforce Development Manager with the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership. Grooms began serving in this role on Sept. 13. “I am excited about the impact this will make not only on students but also on the regional economy. We have identified 18 initiatives for the upcoming school year to connect students to local career opportunities and develop a talent pipeline for businesses and employers in our communities.”

Every school district in Ohio is required by law to be a member of a Business Advisory Council. BACs serve their school districts by establishing connections between the education and business community. Through this collaboration, BACs can study changes in the economy and future job market, develop curriculums to instill relevant employment skills, and actively address workforce needs by preparing students through work-based learning. There are more than 120 BACs throughout the state.

About Northwest Career Ready

Northwest Career Ready is a regional collaborative effort between the education, business, and workforce development community in Seneca, Sandusky, Wyandot, Crawford, Richland and Morrow Counties. Currently, 13 public school districts and 2 private/charter school districts are represented by NCR and its 48 members. NCR strives to develop innovative and effective strategies to give choices for students to master the skills and knowledge required to find a future career and become successful members of their local community

Northwest Career Ready hires its first full-time leader

Ohio native to lead regional Business Advisory Council beginning Sept. 13

TIFFIN, OHIO – August 23, 2021 – The Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership (TSEP), in partnership with Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers and Terra State Community College, announced the hiring of Chandler Grooms as a new Workforce Development Manager to lead Northwest Career Ready, a regional Business Advisory Council for several local school districts in Seneca and surrounding counties. Grooms is set to begin his job at TSEP on Sept. 13, 2021.

“I am excited about applying my experience and skills to Northwest Career Ready and helping thousands of students experience work-based learning and identify rewarding career pathways in their home communities,” Grooms said. “The collaboration here is incredible and growing, and I look forward to strengthening existing partnerships and supporting our local school districts and businesses.”

A former operations manager and interim executive director with the Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association, Grooms has also worked with Lighthouse Youth Services, in the hospitality industry, and for his local YMCA. He is also a four-year AmeriCorps volunteer with a passion for helping high school students reach their potential and a graduate of Shawnee State University with a degree in political science.

Greg Edinger, Superintendent of Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers, celebrated the move. “Helping students prepare for and successfully pursue career pathways is core to our mission, and we continue to be committed to Northwest Career Ready and creating work-based learning opportunities for all. We welcome Chandler to the team.”

Terra State President Ron Schumacher agreed. “In the last two years, we have been able to develop a collaborative strategic plan for work-based learning, streamline and consolidate business advisory councils, and create a marketing plan to spread the word. We are excited to have a full-time person focus on strengthening partnerships and executing our plans.”

“Over the last couple of years, Tiffin City School’s Director of Academic Affairs Amy Wood did an amazing job helping us establish a foundation for success,” said TSEP President & CEO David Zak. “We’re confident Chandler can help build on that success to write the next chapter positively impact education, workforce, and economic development.”

About Northwest Career Ready

In 2019, Tiffin City Schools, Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Centers (VSCTC), and Terra State Community College partnered with the Jobs for the Future (JFF) and their Pathways to Prosperity (PTP) national network to develop deeper relationships with regional business, industry, and educational institutions. That national PTP network includes programs in Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. One of the newest programs is Northwest Career Ready (NCR), established in 2019 Seneca County and now encompassing fifteen K12 educational districts in Seneca, Wyandot, Crawford, and Richland Counties. 

NCR and its more than 70 volunteers believe that for young people to see themselves living and working in the region, and for employers to see high school students and their future talent pipeline, it is critical that cross-sector stakeholders work together to map out seamless transitions from school to career success. So, the goal is to create, coordinate, and deliver work-based learning opportunities to every student at scale.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at