Workforce Partnership sees new doors open

SIDNEY — “While 2020 brought Workforce Partnership of Shelby County (WP) significant challenges, we are excited about the new doors that opened and the opportunities created,” sid Deb McDermott, Workforce Partnership executive director. “WP continues to be led and funded by private industry, with over 40 company members, all with a common goal to develop a workforce pipeline that is equipped to fill local jobs.”

Her report continues:

Our programming prioritizes workforce skills training, career exploration, and training options and relies on a strong partnership with the local school districts. Due to the pandemic, much of our normal programming was limited, with all events cancelled and a significant reduction in-person classroom activity. Virtual exploration in the classrooms continued via website, Hometown Opportunity, and OhioMeansJobs, and new programming implemented, with the following highlights:

• Sidney City Schools, in cooperation with WP and Upper Valley Career Center, overhauled the two WP classrooms at Sidney High School to become new Manufacturing/Engineering and Construction tech classrooms. This project was funded through an ODE Grant written by MRESC. State-of-the-art manufacturing & construction equipment and CAD technology is now in place to provide hands-on learning for students. Britton Devier instructs the courses, with WP representatives participating in the classrooms by teaching real-world lesson application, promoting their company, and developing connections with their future workforce. These new career tech programs allow students to develop an interest in these careers. While students have the option to transfer to UVCC in 11th and 12th grade for extended training, these programs at Sidney HS allow students who want to remain at their home school to develop valuable skills that can open career opportunities for them. WP also plans to extend their presence to the Family Consumer Sciences, Vo-Ag, IT, and Medical career tech programs.

• In August, the position of Career Coach was added. Kelly Edwards was selected to fill this role, which focuses on high school seniors who plan to directly enter the workforce upon graduation. As of end of the year, more than 80 students have participated in the program from across the county. Kelly works closely with the high school counselors and she provides individualized attention that addresses each student’s career goals and aptitude. This position strives to transition the students to jobs that offer a living wage and benefits, setting them on the pathway to stability. The Shelby County United Way co-sponsors the Career Coach position.

• Late 2020, Ohio passed legislation that permits Ohio manufacturers to employ 16 & 17 year olds on a part –time basis to showcase viable careers and strengthen the workforce pipeline. WP will place a priority on expanding this in Shelby County through summer employment and schools’ work-release programs in the coming year. The Ohio Manufacturer’s Association supports and encourages industry to utilize this opportunity. A Construction Mentorship program is being considered also.

These programming changes are significant and fill some gaps that we knew needed filled. We are very thankful for the partnerships created to accomplish them. We look forward to the long-term impact this programming and others will create for Shelby County’s workforce.

To learn more about Workforce Partnership, membership, and programming, visit or contact McDermott at 937-498-9900.



Sidney High School students and Honda representatives in a technology class at the high school.. High School students and Honda representatives in a technology class at the high school..