Connecting high school grads with local employment


By Jennifer Woods - [email protected]



For local high school seniors not planning on attending college immediately after graduation, a new program is being held next week to provide local employment opportunities.

The program was created as a collaborative effort between Fayette County Economic Development Director Godwin Tayese Apaliyah, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce President Kristy Bowers, Fayette County Economic Developer Chelsie Baker and Lana Pavey, of Ohio Means Jobs of Fayette County.

“It’s hard to find the workforce to fill the many jobs we have in our community, so we are trying to do what we can in a small way to help them fill some of the positions that they have. And the best way to do that is to start now — we want to work with high schools to see if those students that aren’t going to college after they graduate this month, want opportunities to find jobs,” said Apaliyah.

Transportation for the tours is supposed to be provided by the schools, but Ohio Means Jobs will be reimbursing costs from that transportation, according to Apaliyah and Pavey.

“I’m really excited to be part (of this program). I’m hoping for really good results,” said Pavey. “The young people in Fayette County get to see what opportunities are available here.”

Bowers explained via email, “with graduation just around the corner, we know these students are moving into adulthood with adult decisions and responsibilities. Whichever path they choose to take following graduation, work is going to be essential. They’ve lived and played here as children, and we want them to know their hometown has great things to offer them as adults.

“By connecting students to our local businesses, we are providing them with an opportunity to see what great jobs are available in their own backyard. Many of our businesses promote from within, providing the building blocks from gainful employment to career. Our schools and our businesses are continually strengthening their relationship to secure the futures of both the student and the business. We thank everyone involved for their time and dedication to this venture.”

The tours are planned for Miami Trace students on Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The tours for Washington High School had been planned for Wednesday and Thursday, however Washington has decided to not participate in the program.

Apaliyah explained they were working with guidance counselors from both schools — Julie Reisinger at Miami Trace and Lisa Hoppes at Court House.

The Record-Herald contacted both guidance counselors to check in on the program.

As of Thursday afternoon, approximately 30 students from Miami Trace High School have signed up for the tour.

“I’m so excited for our upcoming graduates to meet local leaders, local business owners, and investigate opportunities they have as they step into their first employment adventure outside of Miami Trace,” said Reisinger. “I want to say thank you to our local business owners (and the organization team) for presenting Miami Trace with this opportunity for our students.”

When asked how the students would be transported, Reisinger explained they would be using a couple buses depending on the day.

“The Miami Trace Transportation Department is awesome to work with — they made it happen,” she said.

As for Washington High School, when the Record-Herald spoke to Hoppes about the program, she said they emailed Apaliyah Thursday morning to inform him the school had backed out of the program.

“We just didn’t have the kids interested. I had probably 30 kids that I’ve asked to go, and I got six,” said Hoppes. “Just because it was planned so late, we were notified so late… it’s just a super busy time for us with graduation and everything. The kids just weren’t interested in going.”

When asked when they were initially notified of the program, she said it was about mid-April during “the middle of testing for them.”

When asked about the six students who were interested, Hoppes said, “for us to take a staff member out and a bus out for an entire day for two days for six kids — and they were really okay with it, they were just going because they thought they might want to see some of it — that’s kind of where we are at.”

Hoppes further explained she spoke with the students, and they were okay with not going as three of the six already have jobs and were looking at some other things that were available.

Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.

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By Jennifer Woods

[email protected]