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Monday, Aug. 19, 2019

VWHS seniors learn about local businesses

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Nearly 100 Van Wert High School seniors had the opportunity to learn about local businesses during tours conducted Thursday as part of the school’s Career Education Opportunity (CEO) program.

Van Wert High School students learn about the products and processes at Federal-Mogul Corporation’s Van Wert plant during a tour on Thursday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

The tours were supposed to have been held on Wednesday, but inclement weather that led to school closings that day also postponed the tours until Thursday. It also decreased the number of tour businesses from six to four, since Van Wert Health and Cooper Farms, who were originally tour sites for Wednesday, were unable to conduct tours on Thursday.

VWHS seniors did have the chance to tour Central Insurance Companies, Braun Industries, Federal-Mogul Corporation’s Van Wert plant, and National Door & Trim on Wednesday.

At Federal-Mogul, Human Resources Manager Eric Amstutz, who is a VWHS graduate himself, talked to students about the Van Wert plant, which manufactures automotive and railroad oil seals and a number of other products, about the many opportunities for employment.

Amstutz is a good example of that, since he began working as an hourly employee at the plant while still earning his college degree. He later earned his way into a management position and spent time in several management roles at other Federal-Mogul plants before returning to Van Wert as HR manager.

The plant currently employees approximately 400 people, with 60 of those management jobs and the remaining 340 in a variety of production and skilled-trades positions.

Amstutz explained that, in addition to hourly production jobs, the plant also offered skilled trades jobs in its extensive tool room operation, as well as skilled maintenance positions. Management jobs include supervisory positions, as well as engineering, accounting, human resources, industrial design, and other white-collar positions.

Kerry Koontz, CEO program coordinator/career counselor, said that, in addition to full-time employment opportunities, Federal-Mogul also provides a number of summer employment opportunities for college students, with the company hiring approximately 40 students last summer.

After seeing a video on Federal-Mogul, the approximately 45 students at Federal-Mogul were divided into three groups to tour the plant, which located to Van Wert in 1942 and has seen a number of additions since then.

Koontz said the tours went well, with students mostly very appreciative of the opportunity to see first-hand what goes on inside the businesses.

“They are surprised to find out about the multitude of job opportunities within a manufacturing facility (technicians, graphic design, marketing, maintenance, IT, accounting, finance, etc.),” Koontz said.

In addition to students learning about a business, Koontz said companies also get the chance to show students what opportunities they have for employment. That’s important, he noted, since companies have been struggling to fill open positions created by retiring Baby Boomers.

“Obviously, skilled labor is a huge need,” the CEO program head said, while noting, however, that simply hearing what employers are looking for in hiring a quality employee (work ethic, positive attitude, communication skills, and the ability to get along as a team) is also valuable to students.

“The exposure certainly reinforces what we in the field of education are attempting to exhance for our students,” Koontz added. “As I have said numerous times, one drives by a business hundreds of times, but it is difficult to understand what is actually happening until one can actually see the inner workings of the organization first-hand.”

Koontz said he was very appreciative of the four businesses agreeing to open their doors to allow VWHS students to gain knowledge of what they do. 

“It’s a win-win four our students, businesses, and our community as a whole,” he noted, and thanked the companies who participated for doing so.

POSTED: 02/22/19 at 8:33 am. FILED UNDER: News