Dayton, OH (December 2023)
— The Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE), through their strong trade association, employer, and social service partnerships, collaborated with The Abilities Connection (TAC), Yaskawa America Inc. - Motoman Robotics Division, and FastLane to bring light manufacturing jobs for students with specific support needs to Valley View High School. TAC’s Bridging Abilities workforce solution played a huge role by helping students with disabilities and other barriers who are looking to hone their employment skills while earning a paycheck at the same time. “TAC partners with schools in the Miami Valley to cultivate a new educational model that provides training for students while preparing them for life beyond the classroom. The employment, training, and support provided through this invaluable partnership with SOCHE, Yaskawa, and Valley View Schools empowers students to achieve their full potential. Graduates of Bridging Abilities emerge equipped with the skills and confidence to thrive in their next work environment, marking a crucial step towards breaking down barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities and other barriers,” said TAC’s President, Jim Zahora.
The Collaborative Change Partnership hit a milestone in December with the delivery of the first set of paychecks to Valley View High School students who worked on Yaskawa assembly jobs, including those for fuse holders, while at school. The Collaborative Change Partnership’s goal is to find other employer partners to collaborate within our region, building a broader workforce pipeline of employers to create change, challenge old patterns, and establish new flourishing realities for those individuals who have specific support needs and other barriers to employment. “We are all very excited as we work together to bring needed opportunities and change in the Dayton region”, says SOCHE’s President, Cassie Barlow. “We are thrilled about the manufacturing resource solutions and vast network that FastLane provided to the Collaborative Change Team, helping meet the workforce needs of our regional students and employer partners.”
FastLane is a dedicated team of unbiased manufacturing advisors, committed to quickly resolving manufacturing challenges. As a nonprofit organization, FastLane assists small and mid-sized manufacturers to improve competitiveness and support growth.
Yaskawa’s participation in the Bridging Abilities program seemed like a logical next step for including a broader community, since we’ve had good success with high school interns in the past,” says Shannon Oyler, Yaskawa’s HR Generalist. “Not only do bright, motivated students get the opportunity to work a manufacturing job and earn a paycheck, but also, our organization addresses the skills gap that is prevalent today.”
Throughout the year, SOCHE collaborates with 22 Colleges and Universities, K12 Districts, and Industry with the goal of transforming the economy through education and employment. SOCHE leads the SOCHEIntern program, which has existed for over 40 years. This internship program matches students with positions in businesses across the region with the goal of building the next generation of workforce across the Dayton region. Many SOCHEInterns are now leaders within their companies who are now working to build their next generation of workforce. The Dayton Region has a strong history of embracing internships and has become known across the country as a region with a high percentage of paid internship opportunities. You can learn more about SOCHEIntern at www.soche.org.