Local educators and business leaders are joining to offer opportunities to students.
An education committee with representatives from local manufacturers, Tiffin Area Chamber of Commerce, Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp., the city of Tiffin and area public, parochial and charter schools and universities, including Heidelberg University, Tiffin University, Tiffin Academy of Hair Design, North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Seneca County Opportunity Center, Bridges Community Academy, Calvert Catholic Schools and Tiffin City Schools, formed about two years ago and has been meeting monthly.
The committee organized a visit by students to the campuses of Heidelberg and TU. Students took a walking tour of campus, met with representatives from the financial aid departments and talked to officials about majors and minors offered, said Joe Moore, a member of the committee who also is director of International Cultural Center.
"The idea was to try to get Tiffin students a look at the two colleges, both of which are outstanding in their particular field, and in some cases, Tiffin students don't necessarily considering attending here," he said.
The committee's second project is involving local businesses and industries.
Moore said members of the committee talked with members of the business community, specifically in manufacturing, last year and asked how the educational institutions could help support the business community.
"The representatives at the table from local industry had some very solid suggestions about the kinds of things they think we might be able to do to help better prepare students who are looking to enter the work force," he said.
Moore said the conversations led to a project involving students making a full-day factory visit. Teachers are to visit Webster Industries Friday, and students are to go there next month.
"It is a pilot project in the sense that we hope to see this expand to involve other industries in the community," he said. "At the moment, we are working with Webster Industries."
Moore said Webster has spent hours advising, creating presentations and tailoring them to students.
During the presentations, human resources employees are going to talk to students about expectations and resumes, such as what they look for and what they consider red flags.
Employees on the product line are going to talk about soft skills, such as the ability to work as a team, and responsibilities employees have, such as showing up to work on time, being ready to work and being willing to work a full work day, Moore said.
He said students will have an extended factory tour of about 90 minutes and will see all phases of operation. A portion of it is going to be designed to show them why math, science and communication skills are important.
"You need to be able to share ideas with a teammate," he said.
Moore said the tour is going to be an opportunity for students to see first-hand the importance of a lot of what they see in the classroom on a daily basis, but it will be in a real-life situation with real consequences and benefits.
"It's actually students going out visiting the work place and spending time there, walking through," he said.
Nick Spurck, vice president of manufacturing at Webster Industries, said his goals for the program include young people who are transitioning from high school to work understand the expectations of attendance, dress code, office behavior and work ethics and know how to translate skills they are learning in school to a work environment.
"I think it's a great program. ... Hopefully, we see a return to the manufacturing base," he said.
Moore said officials will try to expand the program across the area. Once they make final changes and revisions to the format, they will be ready to approach other business and industry in the community and invite them to take part, he said.
"We think that this partnership, where there's an open line of communication between business and industry and the local educational system, is (going to) be the magic key to helping prepare our students for successful careers," he said.