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Students sample manufacturing career paths

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Students from Cincinnati Public Schools get a sample of manufacturing jobs at four local companies as part of Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partners. Photo provided

By Kristine Glenn

Herald Contributor

Local advanced manufacturing companies eager to hire for unfilled jobs hope two days of tours opened young achievers’ eyes to manufacturing’s lucrative alternative to college debt.

Shifting the spotlight from Sunday night’s 91st Academy Awards, five local advanced manufacturing companies will roll out the red carpet this week to show Cincinnati Public School students the path to career stardom runs straight from the doors of high school to the manufacturing floor.

Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partners (AMIP) is an employer-led regional collaboration of over 240 members in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeast Indiana. AMIP’s goal: change students’ perceptions of manufacturing and show them why employment in advanced manufacturing right out of high school is every bit as desirable and rewarding as a college degree.

On February 28 and March 1, 80 students from the Cincinnati Public School district, ranging in ages from 15 to 17 toured one of four advanced manufacturing companies in the Greater Cincinnati area to see first-hand what employment right out of high school might look like – and pay like.

“The average compensation of a seasoned manufacturing employee in Ohio is $72,000 a year,” said AMIP Chair Amy Meyer. “The skills students need to get started in an advanced manufacturing career are available to them through the Career Technical Education (CTE) programs offered by their high schools. CTE allows students to come out of high school with the real-world skills that employers need, making them highly sought after.”

Cincinnati Public School officials are on-board with this plan.

“Cincinnati Public Schools is dedicated to exposing our students to the world of work to fulfill our promise that students will graduate on time prepared to pursue their chosen career path. Career-Based Learning opportunities such as job shadowing with AMIP helps students step out of the classroom into the world of work and experience what the career field is like for a day,” said Brittney Cousins, career-based learning manager at Cincinnati Public Schools.

Meyer is vice president of corporate development at Rhinestahl Corporation, one of the four area employers that hosted tours for CPS students. The other companies participating are Monti Inc., Richards Industries, and VEGA.

“To be successful in advanced manufacturing will take hard work and dedication just as success in any other venture requires. It will also be clear that skills such as mathematics and English, as well as soft skills, are critical to success,” said Bill Metz, vice president of operations and engineering at Richards Industries.

To the students at the roundtable, Portman said, “You can go to college. Rather than taking on $27,000 in debt, you can be making ten times that much,” he said. “These jobs pay well.”

In bottom-line terms, Portman told the students: “You can buy a car. You can buy a house, and not live in your parents’ basement.”

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