LIMA — A little piece of Apollo Career Center will be prominently displayed in Washington D.C. for the next eight months.
Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman visited the Apollo facility Wednesday for a tour and to present the school’s administrators with an update on the status of Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS).
Apollo students memorialized U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s visit before leaving office with handmade gifts. Members of the trade school’s welding and robotics programs personalized two gifts with their signatures at Portmans request.
One was a printed Ohio plate, and another is a sign in the shape of the State of Ohio. Portman said he appreciated the gifts for their creativity and kindness.
“It was really nice of them, this will go back to my office,” said Portman.
Portman spent time talking with students. When asked if he would miss visits like Wednesday’s when his term ends this November he said he would.
“This is the best part of the job really and what I will miss the most,” Portman said. “These kids make me proud. They’re the reason we are fighting to be able to get grants for certificate programs during high school.”
Portman said students who go to trade school can make $250,000 more by the time they graduate and not have to pay back loans that those who attend a four-year program.
“These are people who just want to have an opportunity to get ahead in life. They’re looking at the types of wages and benefits you get from these kinds of jobs that we are here to discuss today and they are pretty exciting. Some of them I talked to will be going to work right away.”
Portman said there are currently 2,500 jobs open in just the greater Lima region there for the taking. Yet, these high-paying jobs have mostly gone unfilled due to the lack of qualified applicants.
He said there is a misconception about the younger generations and their work ethic. Portman thinks it is the high cost of tech programming that is prohibitive to them getting qualified for these jobs.
‘What I constantly hear from others is ‘you know Rob, part of it is this generation, some of these jobs require intense 4o or 50 hours a week of labor and these kids these days don’t want to do that,’” Portman retold statements made by his colleagues.
“What they don’t understand (is that) it has more to do with affordability. It’s expensive to attend these trade schools and that’s why we’re fighting to get them help with these grants,” Portman added.