Written by Dan Robinson, Staff Writer, Kenton Times, About Four Years Ago
Alliance tabs Purcell to lead chamber, tourism programs
The Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance hired a friend to join its team of directors.
Jesse Purcell is one of the founding members of the Women L.E.A.D. program through the Alliance and will become its Director of Chamber and Tourism on Jan. 2. She replaces Annetta Shirk, who resigned from the Alliance to accept another job.
Alliance President/CEO Jon Cross said, during a press conference Tuesday morning, the board conducted an “executive search” to replace Shirk. It was searching for someone who expressed strong community values. He said they found that person in Purcell.
She is a native and resident of Kenton. She currently serves as a community manager for the American Cancer Society and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program.
She brings “nearly 15 years of experience in building successful fundraising campaigns, recruiting and retaining volunteers and stewarding strong business partnerships with career experience from the nonprofit, business and manufacturing industries,” Cross said.
“We are adding another all-star to the team,” he said of Purcell’s appointment.
“I am really excited about this,” said Purcell at the press conference at the Alliance office in Kenton.
The mother of a three-month-old son and a four-year-old daughter, Purcell said her children played an important part in her decision to return to her native county.
“I want to be a part of building a community where my family can grow up,” she said. “This job gives me a chance to stay closer to them, plus I look forward to telling everyone about the wonderful things happening in Hardin County.”
Purcell said she has ideas to present as part of the Alliance team and plans to “hit the ground running.”
“We believe she is the right candidate for the job,” said board chairman Brian Sprang. “We expect great things for 2017 and beyond.”
Purcell’s responsibilities will include overseeing the Hardin County Ambassadors, the Safety Council, Women L.E.A.D. Program and the Young Professionals Alliance.
“Great strides are being made in Hardin County and I feel fortunate to help advance these efforts through the important work being done at the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance,” said Purcell.
KENTON, OH - Hardin County Chamber & Business Alliance President & CEO Jon Cross announced two new initiatives for 2017 during the Alliance Christmas Luncheon. The organization will develop a student focused job and career fair, as well as the formation of the "Young Professionals Alliance" for those ranging in age of 21 - 40, under the umbrella of the Hardin County Chamber & Business Alliance organization.
As part of its ongoing workforce development strategies, the Alliance will host a new "Hardin County Student Job & Career Fair" in February 2017 for graduating seniors and college students. Nearly 500+ twelfth grade students from local school districts throughout Hardin County, as well as area college students, will be invited to meet with several local and regional businesses that are recruiting full-time or part-time employment, summer jobs and internship opportunities. Businesses expected to participate will range from careers in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, education, financial, healthcare, retail and service industry.
"As a first of its kind event for our community, not only does it give students the opportunity to explore more career pathways and interview for job opportunities, it allows businesses to recruit a skilled and viable workforce, and helps our community attract and retain a younger generation to live, work and prosper in Hardin County," said Jon Cross, who also serves as the director of economic development.
The student job & career fair will be held at the Kenton Senior High School gymnasium on Friday, February 10th from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Businesses, at no cost, can preregister by contacting the Alliance at 419-673-4131. Each participant will be supplied with a table and chairs.
In addition, the Hardin County Chamber & Business Alliance will launch the "Young Professionals Alliance" to allow professionals, entrepreneurs, small business owners, teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, farmers, manufacturers, realtors, and many other career industries throughout Hardin County the opportunity to come together for networking, educational and social opportunities.
Last year, the Alliance met with 30 plus young professionals to discuss the formation and experiences they would like to participate in to help with their networking or career development focus. Details will be announced in early 2017 about the first organized gathering.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Young Professionals Alliance, please email your name and contact information to email@example.com.
Written by Dan Robinson, Kenton Times, Staff Writer, About Four Years Ago
Price: Local educators focus more on students not bound for college
For many years, the focus of public education was preparing students for college.
But not every graduate was headed to a university, noted Dr. Jeff Price as he addressed the Annual Alliance Christmas Luncheon sponsored by the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance.
To better address the educational needs of the non-college students and the business community, the school districts in Hardin County are shifting their focus to preparing students who are hoping to enter a trade school or secure a job following graduation.
Price, the superintendent of Hardin Northern Schools, said in recent years, there has been much emphasis on making sure students pass standardized tests and comparing the results of that testing system with other districts across the nation.
Teachers and administrators had been told the U.S. was falling behind other countries and needed to “up the standards.” All students from K-12 were to be prepared for college, he said.
“It’s a good goal, but I’m not sure it is the correct goal we should have,” said Price.
Many of those college graduates found themselves entering the world where there were no career opportunities in their chosen fields.
“We have a skills gap in the U.S.,” he told the group of businesses, professional and civic leaders gathered at the Hardin County Armory. “There are six million jobs open in the U.S. and the gap will continue to widen if we don’t help students focus on their careers.”
In recent years, he continued, the leaders of all county schools are telling their students attending college is a good decision, but there are other pathways open.
Two students may leave high school together with one going on to college and the other entering a career. While the college student is attending classes and paying tuition, said Price, the other student is earning money and staying out of debt.
“It could be hard for the student in college to catch up,” he said. “Economically, it makes sense. A good plumber will make more in his lifetime than a poor lawyer.”
The idea of testing students continually is also counter-productive to education, said Price. Testing may show how well a student knows facts, but it doesn’t put a value on their soft skills.
“We have put education on an assembly line,” said Price. “Our teachers and students have lost their relationships with each other because we are so focused on the tests.”
Employers are more often searching for employees who show up on time and work hard within a group,” said Price. Those are some of the lessons being taught in courses throughout the county.
“You can be proud of the work we are doing in Hardin County’s schools,” he said.
The six districts within the county system are partnering with each other, but also with businesses and schools of higher learning to train young people to perform jobs and learn marketable values.
“Each of the schools is looking for opportunities to work within their communities,” said Price.
The businesses willing to assist in monitoring programs, job shadowing or training programs should contact the local superintendents of the Alliance.
Students today are encouraged at an early age to identify an interest, Price said, and the schools are working to help make that interest a career.
The success of the new direction in education will depend on business leaders like those attending Thursday’s luncheon, he continued.
“Ultimately, you are our partners,” he said.
Following Price’s presentation, Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance Director Jon Cross announced two new programs being developed by his office to assist in the partnership between local businesses and school districts and the development of connections between young professionals.
One program, announced Cross, will develop a job and career fair in February. The program will bring an estimated 500 high school seniors and local college students together with area business leaders to recruit full-time or part-time employees for summer jobs or internships. There are expected to representative available from manufacturing, agriculture, education, financial, healthcare, retail and service industries.
“As a first-of-its-kind-event for our community,” Cross said, “not only does it give students the opportunity to explore more career pathways and interview for job opportunities, it allows businesses to recruit a skilled and viable workforce and helps our community attract and retain a younger generation to live, work and prosper in Hardin County.”
The Alliance will also be developing a Young Professionals Alliance for young people between the ages of 21 and 40. The group will work together in networking, educational and social opportunities, said Cross.