Career Center prepares for Ormet workers

Officials with the Washington County Career Center’s adult technical training arm have been in contact in recent weeks with workers who lost jobs with the closure of Ormet Corp.’s Hannibal plant.

“We’ve been receiving numerous calls from Ormet displaced workers looking at making a career change,” David Combs, adult technical training director, said after Thursday’s board of education meeting at the center.

Career Center representatives have attended five rapid response meetings held at the union hall in the wake of the announcement that the aluminum-smelting plant, which employed nearly 1,000 people, would close after key portions of an electrical rate reduction plan were rejected by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Although he expects to see an increase in enrollment in adult programs at the Career Center, Combs said it’s not a set of circumstances to feel good about. He described speaking with longtime employees who said their world had been turned upside down by the news.

“Your heart breaks for them,” he said.

Combs said he’s looking at it from the perspective of finding ways to help the workers through a difficult time.

During the meeting, Combs informed board members that the center’s adult certified medical assisting program will be re-accredited and the new pipe welding and heavy equipment systems and maintenance programs have been approved by the Ohio Board of Regents.

In other business

Assistant Secondary Director Tony Huffman told board members about a reward program he instituted for students who met positive criteria in the first nine weeks. A fun day featuring inflatable jousting and an obstacle course, a bonfire, movie and video games was held last week for students who earned a 3.0 or higher grade point average, had a 95 percent or higher attendance rate and received no disciplinary action from the office.

“I’m happy to report that 195 students out of 500 … met all three of those,” Huffman said.

Administrators often spend a great deal of time dealing with students who make poor choices, Huffman said, so it’s important to focus on those who do the right thing as well.

Board member Jeff Lauer, from the Frontier Local school district, agreed.

“It’s nice to see that we’re recognizing those that do well,” he said.

Treasurer Joe Crone reported the center’s audit came back without any citations or recommendations. It can be viewed on the Auditor of State’s website,