Expanding the county’s pipeline of job opportunities for young people is critical for the region’s success, Montgomery County officials said Tuesday.
The commission convened a forum at Sinclair Community College with business owners and educators, to explore ways to better match the needs of local employers with youth who want to work.
The session focused on brainstorming ways to build a pipeline with opportunities that expose young people to jobs via internships, co-op and summer work programs.
Topics included the need for a boot camp to teach students social skills, appropriate work attire and language to the importance of mentors.
“Clearly, people care and they understand the challenge as well as the value and importance of building a pipeline for our young people in high school and college,” County Administrator Joe Tuss said. “They are our future. People get that.”
Among the more than 200 participants who attended the forum at Sinclair Community College were Bruce A. Langos, chief operations officer of Teradata Corporation, Sherri Herrick, director of human resources for Kettering Physician Network and Frank Beafore, executive director of SelectTech Geo Spatial.
“We have had lots of youth come in from time to time…Many are successes because they came and were anxious to work and learn,” Herrick said. “Many of them have moved on because they didn’t quite fit the mold. I am here tonight because we are desperate for quality young folks who want to work, who want to intern, who want to learn.”
The Montgomery County’s Summer Youth Works Program placed 1,250 teens (15 to 18 years old) at 275 different job sites this year, but more than 3,000 youth applied to participate. The county wants to add 1,000 teens to the program. To do that, an additional 300 job sites are needed.
Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge called on business owners to get involved, with a pledge that each would be contacted before Thanksgiving to learn their needs.
“There is no solution without commitment,” Dodge said. “I hope we lit a little fire tonight that we can keep burning with additional forums.”
James Burney, 16 and a junior at Meadowdale High School, said he appreciated the meeting.
“I didn’t know there were so many jobs here,” he said.