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Chardon High School's C.R.E.W program carries on mission with additional manufacturing focus

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Posted at 8:38 AM, May 24, 2022

CHARDON, Ohio — While Chardon High School’s C.R.E.W program continues to help meet local workforce demands by pushing student engagement and promoting career navigation, the program also taps into Ohio’s billion-dollar manufacturing industry.

On one side of the C.R.E.W classroom, there is what you could describe to be a technology playground. The space is one freshman Richard Nemetz has come to love. He told News 5 that he’s interested in “technology and everything relating to it.”

Nametz joined the program and dived right in. As part of the program curriculum, Nemetz’s early workforce experience consists of him working a paid gig at the school’s library managing student Chromebooks. Yet, his dream job requires much more.

When we asked what Nemetz wanted to take on as a career he said, “work in the air force as someone who works on the warplanes they use.”

While Nemetz doesn’t credit the program for his specific career choice, he believes C.R.E.W has helped him be prepared to take it on.

“I’m taking manufacturing next year hopefully so all the machines behind me will be helpful for that,” he said. “We started the class last year but we really started researching a couple of years previous to that

Training to teach manufacturing skills, among others, has been an out-of-class and timely investment for crew teachers Kim Butala and her partner Tracey Britt.

“We love what we’re doing and we are very passionate about it,” said Butala. “It comes with the job."

The duo is currently seeking proper Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) certification to expand their reach to more students throughout the county. Their goal is to help bridge the skills and workforce gap among all students across Geauga and Lake counties.

According to the findings of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, as of May 2020, the industry employs about 700,000 Ohio workers. In addition, the state industry pays out $43 billion in payroll expenses each year. That’s the highest total annual wages of any Ohio industry sector.

“With the students were finding that once we get into the companies, they’re finding that it’s just completely different from anything that they’ve envisioned,” Butala said. “Nobody was prepared for all the different opportunities that are out there for them.”

Though C.R.E.W is changing its surrounding community, we’re told the real reward is being able to fuel passions and dreams like Nemetz.

“It was a genius move,” Nemetz said. “I never would’ve thought this would happen to me.”

For more information on C.R.E.W, email Tracey Britt at or Kim Butala at

RELATED: Chardon High School's C.R.E.W program tackles community, workforce demands through skill-building rubric