Tour and discussion at The Great Lakes Towing Company focused on federal funding’s impact and the importance of employer involvement in workforce training programs
Cleveland, Ohio. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez traveled to Cleveland on Monday, June 6, to meet with Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, Chairman Ronald Rasmus of The Great Lakes Towing Company and members of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board to discuss the crucial role that sector strategic partnerships play in equipping workers with the skills they need to compete in today’s labor market. “Sector strategies” are employer-driven partnerships of industry, education and training, and other stakeholders that focus on the workforce needs of key industries in a regional labor market.
Secretary Perez and County Executive Budish toured Great Lakes Shipyard – a full-service shipyard for new vessel construction, ship maintenance and repairs, and custom fabrication – that used its sector partnerships to grow their business and train their workers.
During the visit, Secretary Perez announced the availability of approximately $100 million in America’s Promise Job-Driven Grants to develop and grow regional partnerships between workforce agencies, education and training providers and employers in a variety of industries such as information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, financial services and educational services. The America’s Promise grant competition is designed to:
- Increase opportunities for all Americans through tuition-free training for middle-to high-skilled occupations and industries.
- Expand employer involvement in the design and delivery of training programs.
- Utilize evidence-based sector strategies to increase employability, employment earnings and outcomes of job seekers.
- Leverage additional public, private and foundation resources to scale and sustain proven strategies.
“These grants are part of the Obama administration’s commitment to redesigning a modern skills infrastructure in America that engages employers as never before,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez during his visit at The Great Lakes Towing Company headquarters. “Workforce partnerships built around the industry-specific needs of multiple employers are helping to expand opportunity for American workers, while also strengthening local communities and building a U.S. economy poised for growth.”
In 2015, the Department of Labor awarded a $7 million Sector Partnership National Emergency Grant to the State of Ohio to support a variety of sector partnerships across the state. The State awarded $2.1 million of that grant to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board for partnerships focused on manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology careers. For the past two years Great Lakes Shipyard participated in the Medina County Workforce Development internship program sponsored by Ohio Means Jobs and the Make it in America Grant. The grant was made available to Northeast Ohio welding students through the educational leadership of Cuyahoga Community College.
Great Lakes Shipyard partnered with Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) Fast Track Welding Program to recruit interns to be trained in the Shipyard. The Tri-C Fast Track Welding Program is a ten-week program which offers hands-on training in Welding Blueprint reading, Stick welding, MIG welding, and TIG welding. At the end of each class, the students submit test pieces for AWS evaluation by Element Materials Technologies, and receive certification for qualified submissions. Admission to the program requires the student to have a high school diploma or GED, they must pass the ACT WorkKeys assessment test, and successfully complete a background check and drug test. The Company also used resources provided by The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) to create a structured on-the-job training plan for the interns. Representatives from MAGNET along with the Shipyard staff worked together to develop a training program to ensure each intern receives standardized and comprehensive training in all facets of the job here at Great Lakes Shipyard.
Rasmus shared details on the Workforce Pipeline that The Great Lakes Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard created to provide internship and on-the-job training opportunities for local students at three Cleveland schools: Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), Max S. Hayes High School and Saint Martin de Porres High School. Rasmus 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.”
Rasmus introduced Secretary Perez to several employees that have participated in the Workforce Pipeline Program.
About the U.S. Department of Labor
The Department of Labor administers a variety of federal labor laws to guarantee workers’ rights to fair, safe, and healthy working conditions, including minimum hourly wage and overtime pay, protection against employment discrimination, and unemployment insurance. U.S. Security of Labor Thomas E. Perez leads the U.S. Department of Labor in its mission of giving all Americans the chance to get ahead and stay ahead. Priorities for the department include ensuring a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work through continued efforts to raise the minimum wage, expand overtime protections, and by being smarter and more strategic in the department’s enforcement of federal law. Secretary Perez strives every day to ensure that Americans return home from their jobs safe and healthy. Perez has made job training and workforce development a focal point of his tenure. With historic investments in community colleges and apprenticeships and the department’s implementation of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, he is committed to connecting ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.
About The Great Lakes Towing Company & Great Lakes Shipyard
Great Lakes Shipyard is a full-service shipyard for new vessel construction including new workboats and barges, truckable products, custom fabrication, ship maintenance and repairs, in a world-class facility that includes state-of-the-art equipment such as a 770-ton mobile Travelift and a 300-ton floating drydock. GLS facilities are located at the Company’s headquarters on the Old River Channel of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio. GLT’s shipyard expertise includes designing, building and maintaining its own fleet, as well as an extensive list of commercial and government tugboats, supply boats, ferries, barges, cruise boats, large yachts, and many other types of vessels, including larger domestic and foreign cargo vessels. The shipyard is a major contractor for the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, and many other federal, state and local governments, attesting to its high-quality workmanship, on-time performance, and competitive pricing. Learn more at www.greatlakesshipyard.com. Great Lakes Shipyard is a division of The Great Lakes Towing Company, an industry leader since 1899, providing essential, commercial tugboat services such as harbor assist and towing, icebreaking and cargo transportation in more than 35 U.S. ports, in all 8 U.S. Great Lakes’ states, including Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, and the St. Lawrence River. Learn more at www.thegreatlakestowingcompany.com.
Joseph P. Starck, Jr., President, The Great Lakes Towing Company