A group of educators and local businesspeople met at Vantage Career Center to discuss teaming high school students and recent graduates with local businesses. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
A group of educators and local businesspeople met at Vantage Career Center to discuss teaming high school students and recent graduates with local businesses. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — Educators and businesspeople came together Tuesday at Vantage Career Center to capitalize on Straight A Grant funding won by a consortium of local entities with the goal of teaming high schoolers and recent graduates with local manufacturers and businesses.

Around 60 people gathered for roundtable discussions on job and career readiness and information on possible methods of readying students for available jobs in the area. The symposium was proposed as part of the “Beyond the Classroom,” project.

“This was one of the initiative that the grant committee had, and that was to have a business symposium. This brought together to school districts that we included in that grant and local business and industry from both Van Wert and Paulding counties,” explained Cindy Leis, the community development director for Van Wert.

Businesses and teachers were able to exchange information which could prepare students for work and to get the business representatives to offer positions that will appeal to potential employees.



Leis said, “What the teachers are trying to do is to get through to the students what skills are needed to get either an entry-level job at the businesses or go to college then come back and see what kind of positions are available… The business representatives are trying to suggest what teachers should be teaching their students in an effort to get them either job-ready or career-ready.”

Overall the local consortium won just over $1.57 million through the Straight A Grant program from the Ohio Department of Education. The consortium consisted of the school districts of Paulding, Wayne Trace Crestview, Lincolnview, Vantage Career Center and Western Buckeye ESC, as we;; as Northwest Ohio Educational Technology Foundation, Paulding County Carnegie Library, Northwest State Community College, Paulding County Economic Development, Van Wert Economic Advisory Group, and the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce.