DELPHOS — A new OhioMeansJobs-Allen County job coach initiative is helping students such as Delphos Jefferson senior Gabrielle Fowler further her career goals locally after graduation.
Since 2015, OhioMeansJobs-Allen County has offered job coaching services such as resume building, interviewing and application skills at its office, 1501 S. Dixie Highway, Lima. A service that was once provided exclusively at the office is now being expanded into Allen County schools.
“We are excited to have an OMJ Job Coach in the schools to ensure we get seniors registered with OhioMeansJobs.com so they are aware of the job opportunities in the area and so that employers can reach them once they are in our system,” Job Patton, director of Allen County Jobs and Family Services, said in a news release. “With our strong ties to the employers, OMJ is the best liaison for students and employers.”
The idea to expand the job coach services into Allen County schools originated from the Greater Lima Region Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes the workforce, leadership, community and economic growth of the Lima region.
“There are so many different career opportunities that students are not aware of in high school,” said Mike Swick, president and CEO of Lima Memorial Health System. “This is an opportunity for students to discover the career path they are most interested in. We have to figure out how to engage our next generation of employees at an earlier age.”
As a way to facilitate that initiative, OhioMeansJobs-Allen County recently started sending job coaches into Allen County schools once a week, assisting students with OhioMeansJobs.com registration, trainings job readiness skills, creating resumes, career goals, career pathways and Lima-area job and college searches.
Participating schools include Allen East, Apollo Career Center, Bath, Bluffton, Elida, Lima, Perry, Shawnee, Spencerville and Delphos Jefferson.
Chad Brinkman, Delphos Jefferson’s high school principal, said he was excited to have a job coach assisting students at his school. He said it is beneficial to the success of the student and the Lima-area economy.
“In the way the job market is changing, it’s imperative to get these job resources here, and we are fortunate enough to have OhioMeansJobs bridge that gap between students, careers and community,” Brinkman said.
OhioMeansJobs-Allen County job coach Brock Schmidt, who is assigned to Delphos Jefferson, Elida, Lima Senior and Spencerville high schools, said he is excited about the opportunity to help high school students further their career goals.
“It’s going to be nice to prepare them for their future and keep our workforce local in the Lima area because we will have a gap within the next few years with people retiring and local talent moving out,” Schmidt said. “If we have the ability to keep (students) here, it’s going to be a great asset to the community.”
Every Thursday afternoon, Schmidt assists students like Fowler with their career goals in Delphos Jefferson’s career center, a facility where students can get connected to more than 45 area businesses to learn more about different job opportunities available.
After graduation, Fowler plans to attend college to pursue a major in pre-pharmacy in hopes of eventually becoming a pharmacist. She is excited to work with Schmidt as she looks to further pursue her career.
“The most exciting part is that he can help and encourage me to go to college to be what I want to be,” Fowler said.
Once students have graduated, the job coaches will maintain contact with them and will eventually transition the students over to a job seeker, who will help them attain their ideal job.
Aside from the work done with students, the job coaches will assist high school staff and faculty with resumes, mock interviews and financial literacy, which will include learning how to develop a budget, avoid debt and start a savings account.
“I think Brock will be a huge help connecting mobile businesses and careers in the Allen County area to me as well as the students,” said Kendra Kerner, Delphos Jefferson High School’s guidance counselor. “I also think that Brock will do a great job with working with individuals students and working on some of those soft skills, punctuality and work ethic.”
The ultimate goal of the partnership between OhioMeansJobs and Allen County high schools is to allow more access to employment and training services leading to better jobs, improved career pathways and self-sufficiency, according to OhioMeansJobs. The job coach’s work in the school is all funded by OhioMeansJobs-Allen County.
“It is an investment that Joe Patton had made working with the Greater Lima Region Inc. and economic development,” said Jessie Garrity, the OhioMeansJobs-Allen County administrator. “Working with them, we found that there is a huge need inform our youth about the employers and opportunities that are here to hopefully retain some of them in the region.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews