Education Leaders to Address Regional Workforce Challenges During Public Forum

The region’s ongoing workforce development needs will be discussed at “Hancock County Educational Collaborative: We’re All In This Together,” a public breakfast that will include a panel discussion with education leaders and opening remarks titled “An All of the Above Education Path for Ohio” by Randy Gardner, Ohio Department of Higher Education chancellor.

The event will be held at University of Findlay Winebrenner Building’s TLB Auditorium on Monday, Dec. 9 from 7:30-9 a.m. The cost of the breakfast will be $12. Reservations can be made by visiting https://oilers.findlay.edu/pages/events/hancock-county-educational-collaborative-event, calling 419-434-4510, or payment can be made at the door the morning of the event.

According to Hancock County economic development representatives, available positions of all types, ranging from line operators at Ball Metal to white collar jobs at Marathon Petroleum Corporation, are plentiful in the area, but are not being filled for a variety of reasons. One contributing factor: federal labor and census statistics from the past decade show that, while Hancock County unemployment remains at a record low, the majority of employee growth has come from residents working outside of the county. The Dec. 9 event intends to address the vacancy issue from an educational standpoint. Organizers, recognizing that an engaged, diverse, and complete workforce is an essential component of a vibrant economy, hope the breakfast will represent a starting point for a continuing community conversation that will generate viable solutions.

The panel will be moderated by University of Findlay President Katherine Fell. Panelists will include Darin Fields, UF’s vice president of Academic Affairs; Ed Kurt, Findlay City Schools superintendent; Rosemary Rooker, executive director of Findlay Digital Academy; Larry Busdeker, Hancock County Educational Service Center superintendent; Julie Baker, Owens Community College Findlay Campus executive director; Steve Robinson, Ph.D., Owens Community College president; and Laurie Zydonik, Raise the Bar executive director; and Randy Gardner.