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Touring local students learn lesson for future

Salem, October 26, 2019
Area students touring local manufacturing facilities Friday learned a lesson for the future: their own back yard offers great job opportunities.
Salem News
By Mary Ann Greier
Published October 26, 2019

Area students touring local manufacturing facilities Friday learned a lesson for the future: their own back yard offers great job opportunities.

“It’s like opening up a new world for us, showing that you don’t have to go to college to get a good career,” Salem High School sophomore Carson Stockman said, adding “it’s a chance to see what’s out there for career paths.”

Matt Stoudt, a sophomore at United High School, said they get to explore what could be in their future.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, hosted the Manufacturing Your Future event, which he kicked off by speaking to the students at the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center in Lisbon before they broke into six groups of 10 to 12 each for the plant tours.

Schools represented included Wellsville, Salem, United, Columbiana, Crestview, Beaver Local, East Liverpool and Lisbon.

Participating manufacturers included Butech Bliss, Ventra Salem, CTM Labeling and MAC Trailer, all in Salem, Compco in Columbiana and Humtown Products in Leetonia.

The event was done in partnership with the career center and its Director Jeremy Corbisello, with help from the Columbiana County Educational Service Center represented by Superintendent Anna Marie Vaughn, Marie Williams and John Dilling and the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center in Salem represented by Executive Director Julie Needs.

Johnson started the program, saying the Manufacturing Your Future event “helps these young people know what their options are in manufacturing.”

He explained that not every student wants to go to college, “some will want to work with their hands, learn a skill and trade.”

“We have a workforce issue,” he said, noting that with large numbers of baby boomers retiring every day, “We have more jobs than people to work them. If you want a job today, you can have a job.”

Needs said the SOD Center and ESC felt it was important to introduce the Manufacturing Your Future program in Columbiana County, not just for the students, but the manufacturers, too. She said it gives manufacturers an opportunity to showcase what they’re creating right here in the county that students may not be aware is happening, such as truck trailers, automotive parts, design of labeling machines and other products. The technology and the environment are both very different today than in years past.

“Students may have a perception that they’re all dirty jobs. They’re not. The facilities are immaculate and the skills to do these jobs it’s important for the kids to understand and comprehend first-hand,” Needs said.

There’s a lot of technology, such as robotics and engineering, required in many jobs. There’s welding and machining to produce the products.

Dan Tubbs, vice president of manufacturing at MAC Trailer, said they welcome the opportunity to have tours like this because they need people and it all starts with the students. He said two of the best resources they have for potential employees are coming from CCCTC and the vocational school in Alliance. They’re a good fit and they come in and hit the floor right away.

MAC Trailer Vice President of Operations Jeff Sheen said this type of program is a good experience. He said the students can get a job at MAC Trailer right out of high school. They can apply online and they’ll receive the training needed to do the job. Manufacturing employees can make anywhere from $15 to $25 an hour.

“It’s about how much you apply yourself,” he said.

Sheen joined the company 13 years ago and started out drilling, then welding, then supervising, then he became plant supervisor, plant manager, general manager and now vice president. He graduated from Sebring High School and couldn’t be happier with his career.

To utilize today’s workforce, Sheen said it’s all about job satisfaction and stimulation. They want to feel good about what they’re doing and have a sense of purpose, so they have more work content at each station so they’re more engaged. Workers feel more valuable.

“We’re teaching everybody to have that approach,” he said.

Samantha Muniz, a counselor at United High School, said the program is awesome for students. Students chose which two businesses they wanted to visit and the schools selected students to attend who may be interested in manufacturing.

“Because the students actually get to see this with their own eyes, it gives them a better perspective of what’s available to them after graduation,” she said.

MAC Trailer Inspections Manager L.J. Miles led one tour and introduced students to the manufacturing process and quality control, noting that they’re a very detail-oriented facility and the company stays up to date. He said he was a high school graduate when he started nearly eight years ago and told the students he soaked up every bit of knowledge he could.

“MAC Trailer gave me the tools and the knowledge I needed to do my job,” he said.

The Salem plant produces two product lines, pneumatic tank trailers and flatbed trailers, and employs 308 people.

“This helps students understand that there are multiple career opportunities in their hometown,” Needs said.

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