Sunday, October 29, 2023

C-TEC Integrated Part of Family, Workplace, and Economy

One day, we got a call.
  “We have an opening in the preschool.”  As a dad of triplets, I said, “Call me when you have three!”

C-TEC called back.  The program leadership saw the value of giving two years’ worth of childcare students a chance to list triplets experience on their resumes.  My youngest kids got their first chance to get to know C-TEC at four years old.

It wasn’t the last.

My son would go on to graduate from the high school engineering program.  Proving the value of career technical training, he’s now employed in a laboratory and nearly ready to fly the proverbial nest.

C-TEC marks 50 years.  For many of those years, I can recite how C-TEC, and its variety of programming, has integrated into my family, workplace, and our local economy. 

Certifications and recertifications matter.  Over the years, the Port Authority has employed C-TEC grads.  Our operations coordinator, Bill Wright, got both a C-TEC high school diploma and, later on, a certification in networking through C-TEC.  Networking wasn’t even a thing when he graduated.  Now, it’s an essential credential. Our whole team has gotten office skills training.

Customized industry training matters.  One of our Port Authority Board members, Fred Paul, first came to work with C-TEC when he was in the local manufacturing industry.  Later, he switched teams to join the C-TEC customized training side as the training-industry connector.  That effort put C-TEC on the map locally, really nationally, in the all-important pre-employment training realm.  C-TEC’s approach has been a national model many have duplicated for decades.

That thing about being a national model can’t be overemphasized.  I tagged along a couple years ago when a national author, Joel Kotkin, was seeking to shine a spotlight on the people and places where career technical training was matching up with the growing manufacturing sector.  He specifically asked to go to C-TEC.   The school’s students and programs were the magnet for Kotkin’s City Journal article soon after.  Great story.

Career readiness matters. Air Force Colonel Vicki Reed, retired commander of AFMETCAL, one of our customers on the Port Authority campus, stayed in Licking County.  Now, she’s connecting the students with industry for work experiences that are rooted in keeping the talent right here after graduation.

Add unique experiences to the list of what matters.  Senator Sherrod Brown’s team lent his power to convene to encourage STEM and manufacturing camps reaching middle school kids. C-TEC stepped up years ago.  Last Summer, the middle schoolers got to tour a cleanroom and witness testing labs at work.  Most adults never get that sort of experience on their checklists.

Workforce impact matters. Workforce readiness translates to economic impact.   C-TEC has smoothed the path for our existing companies to upskill their existing workforce.  Every successful manufacturer in town can recite how C-TEC has helped fulfill their workforce needs.  Ariel Corporation, with a plant in Heath, has brought on a workforce from about every level of the working age with C-TEC at their side. Ariel’s location and expansion in Licking County is greatly owed to that workforce impact.

It matters to every company and every prospect.  In my role, I’m always pitching to potential job creators the capabilities of Licking County to deliver on a hard-to-deliver promise of providing a skilled workforce.  Companies need to find skills available now and into the future.  C-TEC is part of that pitch with all of these capabilities. 

I know my personal story is replicated in other families and workplaces too.

The C-TEC 50-year story is an all Licking County story.


This column was submitted for publication in the Newark Advocate supplement celebrating 50 years of C-TEC.

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