Faces of Manufacturing Uncategorized

WorkAdvance helps Choffin graduate “cook up” new career path

Even though Savana Cline is fresh out of high school with a lot of ropes to learn, her reputation shines bright at Trivium Packaging in Youngstown. Her demeanor seems quiet and shy, but she’s passionate and hard-working.  

Savana and a few others in her class from Choffin Career and Technical Center in Youngstown participated in a three-week high school WorkAdvance bootcamp in spring of 2023. After graduating, she was hired in June as a general laborer at Trivium.

Taking a chance on WorkAdvance

Savana was onboard after MVMC and a Trivium representative came to her class to do a presentation about WorkAdvance. However, manufacturing wasn’t always at the forefront of her mind.

“I was going to Choffin for culinary, and I really liked that,” she said.

Out of curiosity, she signed up for the bootcamp.

“We had classes at Eastern Gateway Community College and eventually went to Trivium for a tour,” she said.

The classes consist of learning math skills and basics about manufacturing. The National Center for Urban Solutions in Youngstown offered career readiness training to help with communication, building a resume, the interview process and career coaching.

At the plant, the noise shocked Savana at first, but she quickly acclimated. She even encouraged her doubtful classmates to stick things out and keep trying.

“They showed us the line machines in the beginning, so it was a little overwhelming. There was a lot going on,” she said.

She felt more at ease after learning other positions were available that she preferred. Trivium is also nothing new to her. Savana’s mom, Christine, has been at the company for more than a year as a quality assurance technician.

She says the WorkAdvance bootcamp experience was rewarding, and the process was smooth.

“Everything was easygoing, and the staff was helpful. They would even get us food and snacks. We got individual help, and I have everyone’s number to call anytime,” she said.

At the ceremony for completing the bootcamp, she signed an agreement to work at Trivium.

“I was excited and a little nervous because it was new, and I didn’t really know anyone. I only got to see a small part of the plant, but I was interested in everything,” she said.

Bring on the boxes

Savana’s job is packing boxes of cans that get shipped to customers in the U.S. and Brazil. At the start of her shift, she checks two buildings for packing assignments. Then, it’s off to the races to get boxes ready for shipping.

“I don’t know the exact number of boxes I can do in a day, but I know I can get through a lot,” she said.

Bill Church is Savana’s manager. He says every customer dictates what’s needed for packing, and she gets the information from the computer.

“It shows the name of the product, the details for the order and how to pack it,” Savana said.

Once everything is boxed, a forklift either takes it to storage or to a truck, if it’s available.

High praises and hard work

Trust and honesty are two things that are notably apparent in Bill and Savana’s working relationship.

“She doesn’t need managed. She hit the ground running. When she started, I showed her what to do, and the next thing I knew, she was bouncing back and forth packing boxes. She was also training new people within days,” Bill said.

He says the job is helping Savana with communication skills and getting her out of her comfort zone. Most importantly, she comes in and gets the work done.

“Some kids don’t have a foundation as good as Savana’s. She sets the bar high. There’s nothing she won’t be able to do if she puts her mind to it,” Bill said.

Right now, she’s working dayshift – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The days off alternate, so in a two-week period, she works just seven days. General laborers start out around $16 an hour at Trivium. Then, raises are given for certain benchmarks and promotions.

Financial freedom and a bright future

Savana isn’t dismissing the idea of moving up at the company.

“I’m still getting my feet wet, but I would eventually think about moving to a line job,” she said.

Along with Trivium’s good benefits package, she’s most excited about what this job means for her financial future.

“First, there’s no college debt. I feel like I will retire far better off than my parents will. I am going to be well-equipped and prepared if something does happen in the future. All I’m doing right now is saving money,” Savanna said.

A couple of her goals include owning a house and a truck someday.

Savana had three different food-related jobs before working at Trivium. In addition to her cooking skills, she also has experience with construction, fixing cars and tree cutting.

“That was because of my dad. I would do side jobs with him. I wanted to learn that stuff,” she said.

Art, crocheting, woodworking and embroidery are also some of her hobbies. She also stays busy keeping up with her five siblings.

Savana is proud to spread the word about manufacturing jobs – even if it’s just planting a seed in someone’s mind.

“I talked to a friend who was going to Choffin for welding, but he decided to go to college for now. I also might get to speak to other students who are interested in these jobs,” she said.

Her best advice for those starting out is simple.

“Just give it time. If you think a job is not for you, look at other options. If you’re not a good fit in one place, you can always try somewhere else.”


New member spotlight: Rust Belt Recruiting

What do you get when passion for the skilled trades is mixed with a focus on finding people to work in manufacturing? The answer is Rust Belt Recruiting in Rocky River, just outside Cleveland.

The company recently celebrated its five-year anniversary. The owner, Taylor Evans, recognized the need for manufacturing workers and recruiting for those jobs. Evans grew up in what’s known as the Rust Belt but is familiar with the negative connotation often associated with it. He decided to do what he could to shine a positive light on the region.

What sparked the interest in manufacturing

He grew up in Reading, Pa., a southeastern city which is the fourth largest in the state, and much like Ohio, big in manufacturing. That’s what got Evans so interested in the industry. Evans says his dad was someone who read every book he could, and among the list, was a book of all the best colleges in the country.

That’s where Ohio University comes in – along with Evans’ tie to the Buckeye State.

“This school was always on my dad’s radar, and the first time I set foot on campus, I was in love,” Evans said.

It all comes back to Cleveland

After graduating from OU, he took a sales job with the Cleveland Cavaliers for a while, then worked for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. In 2013, Evans left for the Texas Sports Commission, in Austin, but left his heart in Cleveland.

“Four months before I left town, I met my now wife, who was a single mom at the time, and we dated at a distance for two years,” Evans said.

He joked about his coworkers teasing him because he spent more time talking about Cleveland than Austin – which he was being paid to promote! Evans returned to the Cleveland area in 2015 and has been here ever since.

Making connections that count

The general landscape is changing for manufacturing, and Rust Belt Recruiting wants a hand in renewing the region, including the Mahoning Valley. Digital marketing coordinator Annie Maglicic says the company wants to connect manufacturers to their most essential resource – a growing workforce.

“We’re passionate about skilled trades and how valuable careers are in those fields. We make sure candidates are getting placed and companies are getting quality people working for them. It’s all about giving people the tools they need and leaving them in a better place,” Maglicic said.

Right now, Rust Belt Recruiting has 12 employees and mainly does business in the Midwest. There are also some clients in the southeast. Maglicic says recruiters focus on staffing full-time jobs and not temporary ones. The idea is to get more people in long-term positions.

“The company started with hiring mostly for production roles in manufacturing, but we also get some requests for more senior roles like engineers,” Maglicic said.

She says sometimes recruiters have in-person meetings with companies to get a better handle on what’s needed. The owner is also hands-on in creating relationships with those looking to do business with Rust Belt Recruiting.

The company is also challenging the familiar narrative that people don’t want to work. Maglicic says it’s not true, and people do want jobs.

“In a way, we’re helping to restructure businesses to reach the modern workforce. In turn, we’re helping jobseekers keep a broad focus but maybe narrowing down what they excel at, so they find the best fit,” Maglicic said.

Why join MVMC?

With sights set on growth, and manufacturing a priority, it makes sense for Rust Belt Recruiting to become a member of the MVMC. Evans hopes to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of the industry. Although the company isn’t a typical member, he wants to build connections with businesses and employees to assist them with their needs.

“I saw an opportunity to build a premium recruiting agency focused on one of our country’s greatest needs – the industrial workforce. We focus our time and effort on recruiting workers motivated to impact the companies they work for and support companies that view employees as an asset and treat them as such,” Evans said.


Evolving Job Quality and the Future Workforce

Any business or organization paying attention to employees and the health of an operation should be discussing job quality. What’s good for one company might not work for another. It’s a task that continues to change along with the workforce.


On March 16, the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition hosted a job quality roundtable with at least 45 participants featuring Rebecca Kusner. She’s a workforce development connector, strategist, and advocate in Northeast Ohio. She founded R4 Workforce, which is a consulting firm just outside Cleveland, Ohio. Kusner presented in the area about two years ago, and the MVMC felt it was important to bring her back for updated research and thoughts on the topic.


Evolving definition of job quality


Kusner started the presentation by asking participants what job quality meant to them. Answers included high value, high pay, safety (both physical and mental), work-life balance, team environment and opportunity for learning. She was pleased to hear safety mentioned because she feels it can often be overlooked.


She points out there’s no single definition or standard that works for everyone, but it must be about the overall framework for job quality. She used an entry-level job as an example. It might have a lower pay standard, but that doesn’t make the position a “bad” starting point. It’s about making each job the best it can be for employees.


“I’m becoming less enamored with the word ‘job quality’ for two reasons: One, because it’s so variable. Two, because it makes it just about the job when it’s about team, culture and other things. You’re not going to make a place better by fixing one job,” Kusner said. “I’m trying to figure out what is the right word. You’ll hear about job design, workplace strategies, and job quality is easy at this point because that’s what people have been hearing about,” she added.


Kusner also feels it has a negative connotation, or that it reflects something bad, when that’s not always the case.


“It’s just the term given to this whole cluster of things that influences an individual’s connection to work,” Kusner said.

The future of work is now


Kusner notes the increasing economic polarization, more virtual interaction and automation in the workforce. She says businesses and organizations need to have programs, systems, interventions, conversations and an ecosystem that responds to the future in the workplace.


She believes companies need to react in new ways to the issues present in the field. She acknowledges that in some cases the challenge is money coming from the government and philanthropic programs that have their own ideas of how things need to be done.


“Job quality work fits in the future of workforce development; how we think about the intersection of people and work, and what we do about it. We can choose how to support companies and workers,” Kusner said.


Facing disparities and DEI


Kusner showcased another changing factor in the Mahoning Valley when it comes to jobs. She said there’s been more skills-based hiring going on, as well as more worker voice and worker power movements happening.


“There’s the notion of equity and inclusion and seeing disparities in the workforce, access to opportunity and how we address equity and inclusion. It’s certainly needing to be part of this emerging workforce,” Kusner said.


She says when employers ask to see what potential hires can do, then focus on those competencies, it automatically helps with DEI.


Navigating a multigenerational workforce


Many companies have a multigenerational workforce, and job quality can mean something different to each one.


“It’s something I’ve seen highlighted a great deal in conversations with younger workers. They will show up and work, but they need to be valued and appreciated for everything they are and not just their work product,” Kusner said.


Vallourec North America Talent Management Director Chris Allen sees the dynamic talking to workers at the Youngstown plant.


“The needs are different from generation to generation. Older generations do the job and don’t have many questions. Others need to have more feeling put into the job and be told they’re doing well,” Allen said.


Kusner emphasizes Allen’s effort to talk with employees and how important it is for management to know the issues going on and how dynamics change. She feels this plays a major role in having a quality workplace.


Improvement tools


Kusner believes companies want to make progress when it comes to job quality. She also recognizes, for some, it’s no easy task.


“There are good companies out there that don’t have the knowledge, resources or support to do all of this. I don’t want this to seem like they’re doing a lousy job,” Kusner said.


She recommends online assessment tools to get the ball rolling. Talent Rewire’s opportunity navigator helps employers understand where they excel and where change is necessary to create a more inclusive workplace. Then, results are sent with resources to take tangible actions for improvement.


“It’s all about starting somewhere, and online assessments are practical, actionable and easy,” Kusner said.


Faces of Manufacturing Uncategorized

New member spotlight: AML Industries

MVMC welcomes Advanced Metalforming Lubricants (AML) Industries, located on Pine Avenue Southeast in Warren – just across the tracks from the Municipal Building.


AML Industries was founded in 1989 and is owned by Dave Gurska, the president of the company. It’s been in the same location since it started with just three or four employees and has since grown to 31. The company specializes in quality lubricants and coatings for metalformers throughout the world.


Forged with integrity


Matt Natale is vice president at AML. He says the company sells to businesses who make parts for the auto industry, aerospace, military, oil and gas industry, as well as agricultural equipment.


“Lubricants would be used for crank shafts, gears, anything that needs structural integrity,” Natale said. “Anywhere there is a lot of pressure, too, you need a forged part.”


He says forging is basically putting a solid piece of metal between two dyes and pressing it to strengthen, or forge, the part with the lubricant.


“There are about 7 or 8 families of lubricants that AML supplies, which are all specific to different parts and industries,” Natale said.


Glenn “LG” McClellan III, operations manager at AML, likes to refer to the company’s product as “industrial cooking spray.” He’s been at the plant for 12 years and got the nickname “LG” or “Little Glenn” since he’s named after his father. McClellan oversees safety and compliance, personnel, production, scheduling, and anything to do with operations.

Refocused on workforce building


Immediately, Natale says the company needs five operators. The position requires running heavy equipment, machines and material processes.


“We’re projected to need 10 people by the end of 2023,” Natale said.


He says it’s been difficult finding help post-Covid.


“We’re willing to hire prospects with a non-violent, felony record. We’re big into giving people second chances, and we try to understand things happen,” Natale said.


AML was able to stay open in 2020 but couldn’t avoid layoffs due to business being almost zero.


“We were able to secure money through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP loan), and without that, we most definitely would’ve had to close, or at least temporarily,” Natale said.


The company was considered essential during the pandemic, but McClelland says when things started getting back to normal, AML had to find new hires because almost none of the laid off employees came back. He says business is booming now, but more staff is needed to support the work.


Eyes on efficiency



Natale says the slowdown was eye-opening for building efficiency. The company has been able to improve processes for equipment and management of workflow.


McClellan mentioned there are three ongoing projects being paid for by the Ohio Safety Intervention Grant, which is through the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. These projects will eliminate risk to workers and improve efficiency of jobs. About a year ago, the company was also able to put in a new chemistry lab.



AML is family


A big takeaway Natale and McClellan want potential employees to know about AML Industries is that it’s a family atmosphere.


“You’re not just a number here. Anyone can talk to management about anything, or if a problem is going on, we’ll have that connection with them,” Natale said. “Sometimes we have even floated people money for groceries or something like that.”


Management is also not afraid of being in the trenches. Natale and McClellan say they have both been in the plant alongside workers at some point. It’s about showing appreciation for employees and what they do.



“We’ve even ordered food trucks to come sometimes as a treat for everyone,” said McClellan.


Why join MVMC?



Finding workers is a priority, and McClellan says the company learned about the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition at a recent job fair. A member was walking around with information, and he says it looked like there was a lot of recognition among vendors.


“It seemed like the group had a lot of impact, so I brought the information back to Matt, and we just decided from there it would be a good idea,” said McClellan.


He also sees the benefits of the MVMC’s WorkAdvance program. McClellan was able to sit down recently with several boot camp participants and tell them about AML Industries. Some of them are former justice involved citizens.


“They all had great questions, and I think they have a leg up over staffing services,” said McClellan. “What I’m mostly seeing from other job services, I’ll make the initial contact, but either people don’t come for the interview, or they don’t reply to my message about our interest in them.”


He says it seems the prospects coming through WorkAdvance are intentional about being job ready. The same group also toured AML, and a couple even expressed interest in interviewing for a job.


McClellan also says he’s interested in the MVMC-sponsored LEAN manufacturing course. AML is excited about training access for employees, youth outreach initiatives, as well as getting the company’s name out there.


“We saw some customers in larger areas joining similar coalitions to help get workers. We’re a small business, so sometimes we’re competing with bigger names, so being part of MVMC might help with this,” Natale said.


Interested in joining MVMC yourself? Contact Alex Hertzer at

Faces of Manufacturing Uncategorized

Roundtable Carves Pathway to Boost Women in Manufacturing

While women make up 51% of the U.S. population, they represent only 27% of the manufacturing workforce in Ohio, according to Hard Hatted Women Ohio.


The Manufacturing Institute’s “35×30” national campaign is pushing to get representation of women in the industry to 35% by 2030. Right now, it’s about 30%. HHW Ohio says here in the Mahoning Valley, the number shrinks to 23%. That means closing a 12% gap.


“We have seven short years to exceed that goal because once we set a target, usually we aim a little higher,” said Julie Michael Smith, program director at the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition.


The plan to make that goal possible was the focus at the Women in Manufacturing Roundtable on February 16 at Vallourec in Youngstown. Kaci Roach, executive director of HHW Ohio, was the guest speaker. More than two dozen others were part of the conversation, including the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, as well as the Vallourec North America Talent Management Director Chris Allen, and the Women@Vallourec.

Since 1979, HHW Ohio has been dedicated to helping women grow and succeed in high demand, high wage jobs and bring awareness to career options they might not otherwise consider.


“There’s really great research from the Manufacturing Institute that shows that women are interested are getting into and moving up in these careers,” said Roach.


She says recruitment and retention are the ways to address low numbers, and you achieve that through awareness, belonging and professional advancement.


Engaging early builds awareness
Roach says engagement with community-based organizations gives more trusted voices to your effort and builds strong relationships.


“Research shows girls as young as 10 begin to view manufacturing and other hands-on professions as gender based, or ‘for the boys.’ This perception continues to grow as women select their educational and career pathways creating a knowledge deficit of what other opportunities exist in manufacturing and outdated models of manufacturing,” Roach said.


She says a great action to take is engaging with K-12 programs and the Girl Scouts. She says there are badges dedicated to career exploration and working hands-on with STEM.


“Disrupt the narrative at a young age. Empower women in your community to become role models,” Roach said.


She encourages employees to be community leaders by participating in career fairs, classroom visits and mentorship.


“It shows yes, women are here, and we belong in manufacturing,” Roach said.


Women need to feel sense of belonging
According to the Harvard Business Review, a high sense of belonging is linked to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk and 75% reduction of sick days. Roach says groups like Women@Vallourec is a great benefit in the workplace, and it helps to have flex scheduling, or group scheduling, so employees can have family balance.


“Essentially there are groups or pods of employees who are responsible for covering each other’s space, so they work as a collective unit to cover times and shifts,” Roach said.


Roach also believes companies need strong family leave policies, nursing facilities, and women need to feel their concerns are being addressed.


Prioritizing professional advancement
HHW Ohio says 44% of Mahoning Valley households have a single parent. Roach says some women run into what’s called the “benefits cliff.” This means they have a lower paying job, receive some type of government assistance, but can’t get a higher paying job without losing the assistance needed to survive.


Roach says this is where companies can offer child care subsidies to offset costs, or employees can do wrap-around support while women work into more sustainable employment.


HHW Ohio has also developed a program called WISE Pathways. It brings together community-based organizations, education/training providers and businesses to create a supportive pathway for women in male-dominated jobs.


The two primary elements are career exploration and coaching by industry and role model speakers.  Roach says women need to be encouraged to share their stories and empower others.


Local WISE Pathways connection
WISE Pathways is partnering with Eastern Gateway Community College in Youngstown and MVMC to run a program this summer. Roach says the idea is for each woman who participates to have a personal connection at the end.


“Schedule mock interviews that can turn into real interviews, if the employer is willing, so they’re able to network with hiring companies as direct result of WISE Pathways,” Roach said.


About Women@Vallourec
Women@Vallourec started at the corporate level, but also organizes at the Youngstown plant. Members meet twice a month to discuss any issues and create tangible actions to increase the representation of women.


Abigail Bonavides, the corporate leader of Women@Vallourec, was invited to the roundtable to talk about the program and what it means for the company. She has more than seven years of experience in human resources and focuses on the training and development pipeline to increase the number of women at the company to 25%.


The four pillars of the program are recruitment, retention, education and career advancement. The goal is to make sure women have what they need in the workplace such as locker rooms, uniforms, family leave policies, as well as making sure concerns are being addressed.


Bonavides was also joined by Katia Rogaume, the sourcing director for Vallourec in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. She is responsible for making sure women have a safe space to share their experiences and getting problems solved in a timely manner.




Member Manufacturers Uncategorized

New member spotlight: Liberty Steel Industries … It’s All in the Family

Liberty Steel Industries, of Warren, is now a member of MVMC. Company headquarters sit on Larchmont Avenue Northeast – with the plant across the street on Dietz Road. As many Mahoning Valley businesses can relate, Liberty Steel Industries is being passed down the family line.


It was founded in 1965 by Jim Weller Sr. There are about 100 employees right now, and the hope is to grow larger in the future, according to John Weller, who is third-generation management. He is the materials coordinator and in charge of purchasing at the plant.


Weller remembers starting out washing trucks as a kid, then working at the plant through high school, college and eventually becoming full time in 2012. His grandfather (Weller Sr.) is 92 and remains involved with the company.


“He still comes in here a couple days a week to see what’s going on,” Weller said.


A Warren Ohio Steel Service Business

Weller says the company is in the steel service business. Workers handle cold and hot rolled steel that is stamped, blanked, and molded into parts for the heavy trucking industry, as well as lawn and garden.


One high-volume product the company makes is shovel head blanks. Weller said they produced 6 million of them in 2021. The blanks end up being formed into different types of garden shovels branded with recognizable names like Craftsman and others.


“You could walk into just about any hardware store, and you’ll be able to tell it’s one of ours,” Weller said.


He chuckled when explaining the heavy parts made for the chassis in the trucking industry.


“We pretty much make the stuff you can’t see.”


Liberty Steel Industries or Liberty Steel Products?
There was a company split in 2015 with Liberty Steel Products in North Jackson. Family members also run that location.


“Despite it causing a little confusion, we kept the names mainly because of our good reputation in the community,” Weller said.


Liberty Steel Industries also has a Lordstown distribution center where about 80% of the products get finished, assembled, packaged, and then shipped right to customers. There is an additional stamping and welding plant in Saltillo, Mexico.


The Warren plant runs 24-hours with three shifts Monday through Thursday. There’s also an option to choose 12-hour shifts Friday through Sunday. Weller hopes to attract new employees with that schedule.


“We need to give the guys working now a break. They’re putting in long hours with a lot of overtime, too.”


Why join MVMC?
Liberty Steel Industries is focused on enhancing workforce development, so it made sense to join the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition. The company is looking for people to fill spots in just about every area.


“We need general laborers, press operators, forklift drivers, welders and more,” Weller said. “We’re trying to grow from the bottom up – from general labor to engineers. We hope being part of MVMC can help.”
The plant also needs people who are interested in robotics training. Weller says it’s something the company has been using more.


“We’re not replacing workers with robots. We’re just taking those workers and putting them in other places where they are needed more.”
He also says making new connections doesn’t hurt in hopes of growing in the future.

Faces of Manufacturing Uncategorized

Manufacturing workforce looks to hire more women

The Manufacturing Institute says women today account for about 30% of workers in the field. There is a remaining perception about the industry that continues to limit women in manufacturing. It’s often seen as a dark, dirty, and dangerous environment just for men. For most manufacturing facilities, that picture is far from reality.


According to The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, having more women in manufacturing is beneficial to workplace health. Their recent reports show women drive the culture, which can impact worker satisfaction. The OMA says, on average, newly hired women are more likely to have some STEM education, and employers with a higher percentage of women in leadership roles also saw increased profits.

Grace Stigliano (left) of Brilex and Leslie Phillips (right) of Brainard Rivet
are among the many women in manufacturing leadership positions in the
Mahoning Valley.


The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition fully supports a national initiative from the Manufacturing Institute to get more women in manufacturing roles. The “35×30” campaign aims to increase representation in the field to 35% by 2030. That would add 500,000 women to the workforce. The MVMC is taking active steps to get involved.


Several women in the MVMC that work in the industry have seen career success. Here is what they have to say:


Trudy Cheney, Global Human Resources Director, Xaloy
“Having worked in manufacturing for close to 30 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with women who are highly successful in every discipline from accounting to engineering to sales. Their success is tied directly to their preparation for the roles they’ve held by being subject matter experts who are truly invested in delivering value to their team, their company, and their industry.”


Ashley Morrow, Payroll Manager/HR Manager, Livi Steel, Inc.
“To be successful in manufacturing you need to be bold enough to believe in yourself, you need to be willing to listen to your managers / supervisors, collaborate with your co-workers, and encourage others in your field to do the same.”


Emily Young, EWD Coordinator, (NCDMM) National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining
“As a new woman in the industry, as well as a young professional, it is important to find yourself two mentors – one with a perspective much different than your own, and one who may think and support you in a way that is most similar to your point of view. As a woman in industry, I have found the brightest moments through stepping up or raising my hand to participate in opportunities to learn more,
network, and build community.”


Grace Stigliano, HR Recruiter/Coordinator, Brilex Industries
“If I had to offer up words of encouragement for women entering the industry, I would say to be courageous, be brave, and simply be yourself. Know that you offer insight to bring to the table and that you deserve to be there!”



Every day is Veterans Day at Compco

The main lobby of the Compco office in Columbiana proudly displays plaques honoring its employees who have served in the Armed Forces.

About 10% of Compco employees are Veterans, according to Katy Mumaw, corporate director of sales and marketing.

The Veterans display remains up year-round and has been there for about 10 years. Each employee-Veteran is pictured along with their “Strengths” and service history.

Manufacturing careers and retired servicemen and women often go hand in hand, says Rick Kamperman, manager of product and process development, and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

For Veterans in need of a job after their military career, there are plenty of opportunities in the Mahoning Valley for work in manufacturing.

Compco, a manufacturer of various types of tank heads, is particularly popular with Veterans. Kamperman believes this is due to the problem-solving nature of the projects the company works on.

“One of the mottos from the Marine Corps is ‘adapt, improvise and overcome,’ and that’s a lot of what we do. We work with our customers, they come up with a problem, and we come up with solutions,” Kamperman said.

A career in manufacturing can provide the same fast-paced, solution-based days that military work consists of.

“In manufacturing there are many facets that come along. There’s always problem solving,” Kamperman said.

These aspects of the job are what remind him of his work in the Marine Corps.

Greg Smith, Compco Chairman of the Board, says he is very passionate about incorporating Veterans into the Compco team and honoring them. His philosophy is shared throughout the organization.

“Compco has an ‘Honor Coin’ that is awarded to the men and women who have served to thank them for their service; with Compco’s logo on one side and symbols representing different branches of service on the other,” Mumaw said.


5 reasons why teens are skipping college and getting right to work

The workforce of the 2020s is rapidly changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic stressors. This has resulted in college enrollments declining nation-wide, universities downsizing, and more young people heading directly into the workforce.


graphicEfforts by many industries – manufacturing included – to promote rewarding career options that don’t require the time and expense of a college degree are working. They’re capturing the attention of both young people and their parents.


What is it exactly about these go-directly-to-work after high school career paths that resonates most with young people? Through our own observations and from those we’ve curated from trusted partners, it often boils down to one or more of the following five reasons:


No debt, please. They don’t want to be saddled with debt from a young age. The thought of taking on tens of thousands of dollars in loans with a level of uncertainty about their payoff is daunting to teens. And rightfully so. The average student loan debt per person is $36,510 according to the College Board. And get this, it’s been reported that as many as 4 out of 10 individuals with student loan debt never finished their degrees.


Hands-on learning preferred. They prefer hands-on learning. Trade schools offer certifications and apprenticeships that allow for earn-and-learn, on-the-job training.


Prefer staying close to home. According to Imagine America, they might not be ready to leave their hometown. The college admissions process can be overwhelming. Many teens grapple with the decision for years before they graduate high school. Choosing the right college is stressful, and many teens need the opportunity to stay local for a few years while making some money. For some, this can become a career.


No family history of college. No one in their family has gone to college. More than 40% of incoming college students are first-generation, according to the Brookings Institute. Navigating the world of higher education is hard enough when a parent or guardian has been through the process. Without a guiding hand, this option can be difficult to tackle for teens.


Making money is the priority. They want to earn money right away. Some teens need to support their families as soon as they graduate high school. Others are set on what career path they want to pursue and know it doesn’t require a four-year degree. Manufacturing careers are a great way to find on-the-job training and enter a career that will pay well with great benefits soon after leaving high school.


These trends point to the job candidates being out there and receptive to what manufacturing careers have to offer. They underscore the need to continue to aggressively market to them to attract them to our industry. Today’s young people are the future of our workforce.


For a current list of active job openings among MVMC members, visit


MVMC to Receive $930,000 from Federal ARP Funds’ “Good Jobs Challenge” Program

MVMC’s funds are part of a $23.5 million grant awarded to the Ohio Manufacturers Association for a 3-year workforce development action plan focused on recruiting and upskilling manufacturing workers across the state.


Youngstown, Ohio (Aug. 3, 2022) – The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition is in line to receive $930,000 over the next three years as part of The Ohio Manufacturers Association’s (OMA) $23,492,808 award from the Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act Good Jobs Challenge program, which was announced today.


OMA is the lead applicant and system lead entity – and one of 32 programs out of 509 applicants throughout the country – to receive a portion of $500 million in federal funds aimed at getting Americans back to work by strengthening workforce partnerships that lead to good-paying jobs.


MVMC is among OMA’s network of manufacturing industry sector partnerships throughout the state that will receive funding from this grant to carry out specific recruiting and upskilling components of OMA’s workforce development action plan in the Mahoning Valley.


“This investment will enable us to continue the momentum created through our WorkAdvance program, Ohio To Work, apprenticeship and other upskilling efforts,” said Jessica Borza, MVMC executive director. “It will also allow us to continue our grassroots outreach and build upon partnerships with the Regional Chamber, National Center for Urban Solutions, SOD Center, Ohio Technical Centers, Eastern Gateway Community College and other local entities.”


50,000+ annual job openings over next 36 months


More than 1,600 manufacturers comprise OMA’s statewide ISP network, including 120 that submitted letters of commitment to source new hires from this initiative. In total, these employers indicated a demand for 25,000+ hires in the next five years at an annual wage of $17.60/hour, which reflects the prevailing wages for the initiative’s targeted in-demand occupations of machining, production, welding, industrial maintenance, and automation and robotics.


In total, these targeted occupations are projected to have 50,000+ annual openings and 150,000 openings in the next 36 months in Ohio.


Targeting underrepresented populations across Ohio’s communities


OMA’s initiative prioritizes on Ohio’s 32 Appalachian communities, the eight largest urban counties, and underrepresented groups among the manufacturing workforce including people of color, women, veterans and returning citizens.


In response to regional needs and the needs of the target populations, the ISPs will be led to execute an evidence-based Entry-Level Learn-and Earn (ELLE) modeled after MVMC’s WorkAdvance program to prepare a future workforce. The strategy, which gives employers the opportunity to build a workforce trained to their specific needs, includes recruiting, pre-screening, preparing job skills training, onboarding, and ongoing support and job coaching components.


“Ultimately, the Good Jobs Challenge grant will lay the groundwork for exponential, ongoing impacts beyond the 36-month grant period by operationalizing sustainable new training programs, formalizing referral partnerships, accelerating ISPs’ momentum, and building underrepresented communities’ interest in manufacturing careers,” said Ryan Augsburger, OMA president.