December 22, 2014

Elyria
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LCCC makes promise to future employers

ELYRIA — Lorain County Community College is so convinced its graduates can help local companies, it is willing to make a promise about their readiness.

The county’s only two-year institution is trying to erase the worry of hiring by basically guaranteeing that LCCC degree holders will be well-educated and prepared to work. On Thursday, the college’s Board of Trustee unanimously voted to adopt the MyEmployer Guarantee — the third phase of its “Our Promise” initiative.

This promise is not like the first two, which were geared toward students. Instead, the message being sent is to the business community: Hire our students, and they will be ready to help you grow your company — or we will educate them more for free.

Other promises have included a tuition guarantee and a pledge to help high school students map out a pathway to a bachelor’s degree by age 20.

College President Roy Church said the MyEmployer Guarantee is in line with the college’s role as an economic development driver in the county.

“When we have a workforce that is prepared to meet the challenges of today’s economy, both employers and employees win,” he said.

Officials from companies across the county are excited about what the promise could mean to them. Cheryl Giardini, human resource manager for Crane Aerospace in Elyria, said the company of about 250 employees anticipates a demand for skilled technicians and manufacturing engineers in three to five years.

Its workforce is aging and, through attrition, new talent will need to be brought on board, she said. In addition, the aerospace industry is poised to grow in the next three years with new planes, helicopters and equipment.

“I already know what my employee needs are going to be,” Giardini said.

With a two-year degree in an appropriate applied degree program, entry-level technicians can make as much as $24 an hour starting at Crane Aerospace, she said.

The MyEmployer Guarantee has a two-pronged approach.

First, it guarantees LCCC students who complete an applied degree program are prepared to do their job for the first three years after graduation or the college will provide up to 15 credit hours of coursework tuition-free to fix any deficiencies.

Second, companies who partner with the college’s Entrepreneurship Innovation Institution can receive up to 10 hours of free talent planning, recruitment and human resource services.

“We are being reactive by saying we will fix any problems with our students because we believe in our students that much, but we are also being proactive to help employers find and recruit the talent they need,” Church said.

It’s the kind of assistance that is ideal to a small company like LaserCraft Inc., said Production Engineering Manager Dale Hawkinson. The North Ridgeville manufacturer is a product feeder to larger companies like Diamond Products, Adrian Steel and Vitamaix.

“Programs like this help get the right talent and employees in place to meet the growing needs of our company,” he said. “We like to grow talent from within, but as our clients grow we need to be ready to grow right along with them.”

Hawkinson said the company has hired through temporary employment agencies, but found its most recent hire through a LCCC co-op internship program.

Leanne Taylor, 46, of Elyria, went through the program and quickly transitioned into a full-time job. She considers herself proof that LCCC programs teach what employers want.

“When I went for that interview, it was like their checklist was just like the classes I took in college,” she said. “It was like, ‘I did that. I did that and that, too.’ I knew I was ready for this job.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.