LAKE COUNTY, Ohio — Lake County will host a virtual job fair the week of June 22 and the focus will be on the county's largest employment sector: Manufacturing.
News 5 is a proud sponsor of the event.
"American manufacturing is highly innovative," said Juliana Petti, executive director AWT Foundation.
The city of Mentor has the fifth largest manufacturing sector in the state of Ohio. It is home to Fortune 500 companies to family-owned shops like Fredon Corporation; where they provide precision machining needs for customers in the defense, aerospace and transportation industries.
"We're high-tech, we're computer-based and it's a lot different than what you would've seen 50 years ago," said Alyson Scott, president of Fredon Corp.
It is not your grandpa's manufacturing floor. And they're hoping a virtual job fair helps that message reach a new generation of workers.
"It's a great way to embrace the technology, and make it more efficient for everyone involved really," she said.
Fredon is one of 25 Lake County manufacturers participating in the virtual job fair. Ninety positions are available for varying skill and pay levels.
"These jobs can range from project engineer to a CNC machinist to a 3D printing manufacturer, and it could be a plant or floor manager," said Patrick Mohorcic, Lake County Workforce Development Board.
"We just want to get people back to work as fast as possible and in a safe environment, and we feel this is the best way to do that," he said.
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Then, the virtual job fair is open around the clock all week. Job seekers can look through open positions, learn more about the companies, and send e-mails to ones they're interested in. Employers will then start the conversation.
A Columbus company, founded by U.S. Veterans, called Oplign, runs the artificial intelligence software that matches jobseekers to the jobs they are qualified for in under a minute.
"CNC machinists is always what companies come looking for," said Petti.
"Our machinists are some of the brightest people I know," said Scott. "They are doing incredible things and calculations."
Petti said welding is another job in high demand right now.
“But for the people who don't have those skills, don't be afraid to apply for the warehouse or shipping positions," she advised.
Petti also encouraged people not to shy away from a manufacturing career just because you think may not have the necessary technical skills because, “Most companies can teach that if you show you're willing to work and excited to be there," said Petti.
Scott echoed the sentiment. She said a strong desire to learn, be present and a strong work ethic are often more important to them than your experience.
The pandemic inspired the online hiring event to promote physical distancing.
Mohorcic says most manufacturers didn't lay off workers during the pandemic. Instead, they implemented hiring freezes that are now lifting.
Northeast Ohio manufacturers needed workers then and still do now.
"We want people to stay in Northeast Ohio, in Lake County, in Mentor because it makes all of us in the community stronger," said Scott.
Scott says she's hopeful the global health crisis turns out to be good for the U.S. manufacturing industry. She says we should rethink where things are being made and look to possibly reshore manufacturing for things like PPE and medical equipment so it's more readily available domestically in case of another large-scale emergency.
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