LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio — While unemployment claims continue to decrease, manufacturers are still looking for workers. As many as 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2030, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
One northeast Ohio community college is partnering up with a tool company to help train tomorrow’s workforce.
Terry Groner is from Elyria, Ohio and he describes himself as a “gear-head." Groner said he knew at an early age what he wanted to do.
“I grew up in a garage with my dad. We always raced, circle track local and anything mechanical or electrical. I’ve had a big interest for it,” said Groner.
Groner’s interest in manufacturing only grew stronger after spending time in the garage with his father, fixing cars.
The apprentice is interested in manufacturing jobs like welding. It's a skilled trade that's in high demand.
“My goal when I came to Ridge Tool as an operator was to eventually be able to put in for one of the apprenticeship programs that they offered,” said Groner.
The program Groner joined is a partnership between Ridge Tool in Elyria and Lorain County Community College. It’s a program customized to train the future labor force.
“Manufacturing has been at the heart of this economy for so many years and there’s a strong need for skilled manufacturing individuals,” said John Rosson, a Ridge Tool supervisor.
The program focuses on teaching the right skillsets for each individual.
An apprentice will spend thousands of hours on the work floor plus hundreds of hours in the classroom.
“It allows the technicians to attend classes and for fill hourly requirements at the community college as well as getting real-life on-the-job training with an experienced journeyman with them,” said Rosson.
Groner is almost finished with his apprenticeship and will soon will be a multi-craft journeyman.
“Jack of all trades, hopefully at the end of it, master of a few,” said Groner.