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Educator Boot Camp connects Fostoria teachers with local manufacturers

The goal of the state pilot program is to give teachers a better understanding of what local businesses offer, and what they are looking for in future employees.

FOSTORIA, Ohio — A few area educators are ending their summer break with the Educators Boot Camp in, which aims to connect local educators with area manufacturers.

The pilot program, through Lt. Governor Jon Husted's office, gives teachers a better understanding of what the manufacturers offer and what they need in future employees.

"We need to be able to expose them to what's made here, how it's made, what the opportunities are, what are the benefits, the pay," Mat Kibler, workforce development director at the Fostoria Learning Center, said. "Getting to educators is one of the ways we're going to do that."

The educators toured six businesses in the Fostoria area:

They ended Thursday with a presentation on what they took away from the experience, which gave them first-hand knowledge of what their students could be curious about.

"Whenever kids are wondering about their future, and we are all helping with that, we can answer those questions, get those carrots out there," Aaron Weidner, assistant director of the Fostoria Academy, said. "Prepare them for what they're actually going to have the opportunity to do."

Credit: Jon Monk
Participating educators received continuing education credit for taking part in the pilot program.

"These educators are spending, sometimes, five, six, seven hours a day with the students," Kibler said. "And if we can get to them and better educate them, it's just a trickle down, it will get to them. And once they know about those opportunities, that's when we're going to start seeing that growth."

And for the participating businesses, programs like these are a vital initiative to help develop a local workforce instead of relying on recruiting from outside the region.

"Getting that local presence and building that local pipeline is exactly what we need to be successful, not only today but years in the future," Haley Felter, HR generalist for recruitment at Mennel Milling, said.

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