Workforce is the number one issue in business today and companies are looking for every avenue to find workers – especially entry level, career-minded employees. At the same time, many young people do not understand their options for careers nor the breadth and depth of positions open in Medina County. A number of local efforts between business and education have helped move the needle, but more direct action must be taken.
The County Forward Fund is a Medina County-based non-profit set up to bring education resources together with business to strengthen both in Medina County. In reviewing the resources provided to students through their high school career, it is apparent students need more one-on-one time with someone who can advise them on how their strengths and interests align with careers.
The Career Coach would not be an employee of the schools, but instead, work for the Medina County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), a non-profit providing economic development services to the county. Charged with attracting, retaining, and expanding the companies in Medina County, MCEDC is familiar with both the new businesses coming into the county as well as those that have been here already. Meeting with over 200 companies a year means they have their fingers on the pulse of what companies need, what benefits they offer, and the different types of cultures. Being part of this organization would give the Career Coach the opportunity to meet one-on-one with companies to learn about the skills needed for recent graduates or high school students working in the facility. They would see firsthand the types of jobs needed and take a highly informed approach to discussing careers with students.
Counselors and administrators in all seven school districts, both vocational programs, and the Windfall school have expressed interest and optimism in working with the new Career Coach. Traditional school counselors are called upon to do everything from write recommendation letters to helping with grief counseling and generally do not have the resources to learn about different career paths for students to the extent of a dedicated career counselor. To that end, school counselors are excited about the possibility of help.
In order to launch the program, we would like to fund it for two years, with the intention of asking companies to support after that time. Being able to show successful placements in companies in the county should help companies want to keep the position going. To donate, please send a check to County Forward Fund, 144 N. Broadway Suite 119, Medina, OH 44256.