LIMA — Between the clipboards and the cameras, Crouse Hall flourished with activity Thursday to capture a new message for today’s young people.
“The future Lima will look a lot different than what it does today,” Lima Pallet President Tracie Sanchez said.
And community leaders want the next generation to be a part of it.
“There’s a lot of opportunities to stay right here in Lima, Ohio,” Lima Allen County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jed Metzger said. “There’s a lot of great jobs here, and we’re expanding on a daily basis.”
Organized as part of the Youth for Change’s kick-off celebration, the first segment of the day focused primarily on highlighting what Lima has in store for today’s youth if they’re willing to put in the work.
Sanchez highlighted her own history in Lima as an example.
“I went to Rhodes State to be a teacher but I got called back because my dad started the family business. We started growing in the pallet business. It was a needed niche within the community that we didn’t have, so we found that niche,” Sanchez said.
Now, she’s a community leader helping organize the construction of the Greater Lima Region Amphitheater and working to establish a downtown “makerspace” that can help people explore what they want to do, teach people how to weld, or expand their skills in a commercial kitchen. She expects the project to be finished either this summer or the next.
“There are opportunities not just at floor level. If a student is truly willing to be disciplined, work hard and really advance themselves, there’s a wide structure of opportunity. And many times, we have to remember they’re good paying jobs,” Allen Economic Development Group President/CEO Dave Stratton said.
Business leaders stressed that college may not always be the right path for tomorrow’s students, but even so, Lima can still offer good paying jobs without a degree.
“If you are going to school, have a plan B, because many times, as a student, not everybody finishes college. Some people may go, and they just feel like: ‘It’s not the right thing for me.’” Spherion CEO Karen Grothouse said.
“We’ve had many people have an opportunity to work at their job and — because you only have to drive five, 10, 15, maybe 30 minutes to get there — that gives you ample time to have a side gig. And isn’t that a great opportunity?” she said.
“We want to do everything we possibly can to provide the amenities, to make this community as livable as possible, and also to make sure we have the jobs available that they would like to have in the future,” Metzger said.
The second portion of the Youth for Change kick-off celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday featured local artists and students performing together in honor of King to highlight community arts. An expanded article focusing on the behind the scenes and other program details will be available Monday in The Lima News.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.