Northwest State, Vantage working to fill skilled workforce needs

Posted On: February 26, 2017

Throughout Van Wert County, the state of Ohio, and the upper Midwest, employers are facing an inevitability: some of their most skilled workers will soon be retiring. This “silver tsunami,” another term for a rapidly aging workforce, will affect a significant number of employers in manufacturing and other private and public sectors. This phenomenon also means that the demand for a skilled workforce increases with each passing day. Fortunately, Northwest State Community College and Vantage Career Center have the capacity to help bridge that gap, assisting both students and area employers.

Northwest State and Vantage continue to make a dedicated effort to engage area business leaders in meaningful dialog. This ongoing dialog provides valuable feedback about companies’ exact current and projected future needs, which in turn provides the blueprint for the education partners to shape and evolve curriculum, course availability, and equipment for lab work. These conversations also allow Northwest State to assess the potential for custom solutions.

“Most employers agree that additional training and education are immediately needed, but there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to when and where that training takes place,” said Ron Scozzari, Dean of Industrial Technologies at Northwest State. “Sometimes the answer is in our classrooms, sometimes it’s learning through hybrid courses (combining online and in-person work), and sometimes it’s going to the facility to provide direct training.”

Scozzari also noted that some companies offer great tuition reimbursement programs for employees, in a concerted effort to “train up” employees to help ease the forthcoming “silver tsunami.”

How important is postsecondary education, as it relates to career opportunities? A whitepaper presented by Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2020, noted that “by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education or training.” It is possibly more important than ever that affordable, local and customized opportunities exist for students and employers alike.

Northwest State and Vantage will be hosting a series of Manufacturing Consortium events at the Vantage Career Center Community Room (818 North Franklin Street in Van Wert), the next is scheduled for Thursday, August 17 at 7:30 a.m. These events will serve to address current and pressing needs of area manufacturers, exchange information in accessing services and funds for a skilled labor force, and provide valuable networking opportunities regarding the needs of human resources. To register for this event, attendees are asked to RSVP to Diana Becker at, or call (419) 238-5411 ext. 2116. Similar events are also scheduled for October and next January.

Pete Weir, NSCC Trade and Industrial Coordinator at Vantage, sums it up this way: “Northwest State and Vantage Career Center are uniquely positioned to provide the education and hands-on learning experiences necessary to land a good job with a local company, and also put its certificate and degree program graduates in a position to take leadership roles with those companies.”

For more information on Northwest State degree and certificate programs, please visit