The Great Lakes Group


The Great Lakes Towing Company Creates Workforce Pipeline for the Trades Industry Through Educational Programs with Local Community Partners

The Great Lakes Towing Company kicks off the 2015-2016 school year by partnering with three Cleveland schools to provide internship and on-the-job training opportunities for local students. With “Back to School” in full swing, education is top-of-mind, not just for families and educational institutions but for local businesses as well. Creating a workforce pipeline has become increasingly important. This is especially true for the trades industries and something that The Great Lakes Towing Company has a history of incorporating into their corporate culture by partnering with Saint Martin de Porres High School (a Cristo Rey Network School), Cleveland Municipal School District’s Max S. Hayes High School and Cuyahoga Community College’s Work Force Training program.

The Company has committed to its fifth year as a St. Martin de Porres High School’s Corporate Work Study Program partner. Students from various grade levels work one day a week in different departments at the Company headquarters to help fund about 50% of the cost of their education. The relationship between the school and the Company is aimed at assisting young men and women develop habits that give them an introduction to the maritime industry and enable them to be successful and confident in college, career, and life.

The Towing Company is also collaborating with Cuyahoga Community College’s Work Force Training program to aid in the innovation of the welding program curriculum. With continual changes to technology and standards, The Company works with Cuyahoga Community College instructors to ensure students are receiving the most up-to-date training that reflects industry modifications. This year, The Company will also participate in an internship program sponsored through the Magnet Workforce and Talent Development Program by Ohio Means Jobs and the Make it in American Grant that the Medina County Workforce Development is providing to Northeast Ohio welding students. The grant funding provides up to a maximum of $6,000, per intern. Corporate partners, like The Great Lakes Towing Company can choose to hire interns following the ten-week program.

In addition to working with both Saint Martin de Porres and Cuyahoga Community College, the Company has had a cooperative working agreement with the Cleveland Municipal School District’s Max S. Hayes High School for over 20 years. The Company, in cooperation with the District and the School, has developed a program for students to obtain structured systematic shipyard training at the school. Paid summer jobs and full-time jobs are offered to graduates who obtain their High School Certificate and successfully pass welding tests or other industry certifications. With the opening of the new school building this year, The Towing Company is very excited to continue the program and help train students in welding and diesel engine mechanics – skills much needed for the Shipyard.


After attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, August 31, 2015 for the new $48 million school, Joe Starck, President, The Great Lakes Towing Company & Great Lakes Shipyard, stated that, “Our business has grown significantly over the past four quarters, and this growth is expected to continue for the next five years – we will need a dedicated and skilled workforce. With great educational institutions as partners, we will continue to develop a workforce pipeline of educated workers. The new Max Hayes school provides a hands-on, energetic and innovative environment for the students. We look forward to meeting the graduates from this excellent program.”


Ron Rasmus, Chairman, The Great Lakes Towing Company & Great Lakes Shipyard, believes that these scholastic partnerships support skilled trades by continuing their legacy through Cleveland’s future employees. “As a Cleveland business with 116 years of expertise in the maritime industry, The Towing Company has always known the significance of training and developing our youth in preparation for real-world, good paying careers in the trades. Exposing students to the Shipyard and teaching them interpersonal skills, not only increases their growth but allows us to create a talent pool for us to tap into as we expand our manufacturing business.”

As a Friends of Max Hayes partner, Great Lakes will participate in the new school’s first Parent Open House on September 17th from 6pm-8pm, showcasing information about the Company and highlighting successful careers in the maritime industry. The school is now located at: 2211 West 65th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44102.