Local company partners with county and state government for apprenticeship program

Local company partners with county and state government for apprenticeship program
The program will lead to benefits for employer and employees

[Fostoria, OH – Nov. 6, 2020] – OhioMeansJobs Seneca County officials announced today a partnership with Custom Glass Solutions, in Upper Sandusky and Fostoria, that is to lead to an apprenticeship program that will benefit the employer and its employees.
An application from CGS was approved for a $375,000 Incumbent Worker Training Program to occur from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2021. The program was funded by OMJ Seneca County, OMJ Wyandot County and the Greater Ohio Workforce Board.
Carol Kern, the business services consultant for OMJ Seneca County, said the program is a way to “train the internal trainers” to fully train each worker as the company works toward its goal of having every occupation become a State Registered Apprenticeship in the next three years.
“Our 500-plus employees are our greatest asset and the engine that drives our business,” says Deana Piekos, Director of Human Resources at CGS. “Our partnership with OhioMeansJobs provides resources and an infrastructure to help us continue developing a world-class workforce. By raising the level of capability of our people, we give ourselves a competitive advantage as we pursue aggressive growth initiatives.”
CGS has worked with Proactive Technologies to analyze each targeted job using CGS’s subject-matter experts. The “best practice” task processes data collected and processed to provide structured worker development materials and training tracking capabilities. Each trainee is provided with a customized on-the-job training checklist binder to put them on the path to full job mastery. Trainees will receive credentials for completed related technical instruction and for completing the structured on-the-job training to mastery, which will lead to other credentials, such as the apprenticeship certificate.
Kern applauded CGS for working to improve its workforce, adding that the apprenticeship program would be beneficial to the employees, the employer and the community.
For the company, it leads to more productive and efficient employees, which means the company can take on more work. For the workers, it gives them a broader range of capabilities for their job and also can lead to wage increases, which are tied directly to learning new skills and applying them to the tasks they are expected to perform.
“It provides incentives to the employee to improve and increase their pay, while the apprenticeship program also provides them a portable credential that they can take anywhere in the US,” Kern said.
John Trott, the executive director of the Greater Ohio Workforce Board, said the board is excited to partner with OMJ Seneca County on this “incredible” program.
“OhioMeansJobs Seneca County along with Seneca County DJFS and its commissioners represent the pinnacle of local innovation and workforce services that the Greater Ohio Workforce Board, Inc. asks of its member counties,” he said. “By focusing on vital growing businesses like Custom Glass Solutions and promoting high-level skilled workers, Seneca County leads the way in local economic growth.”
Kern said the state has emphasized apprenticeship programs as a way to increase the number of well-trained, highly-skilled employees.
“This project at CGS will lead to almost 500 employees becoming registered apprentices,” she said, adding that the model could be replicated.
Kern said since Nov. 8-14 is National Apprenticeship Week, it’s a great time to promote these programs.
Seneca County helped facilitate with Morgan Advanced Materials to have the first GOWB-sponsored program in Ohio.
“Right now, I’m working with Morgan, Mennel Milling and Grammer who have a combined total of 17 apprentices,” Kern said, while also noting that Webster Industries has a state-registered apprenticeship program.

About Custom Glass Solutions
Custom Glass solutions is North America’s leading producer of large format, laminated glass systems. CGS has been operating since 1974 in Upper Sandusky and expanded operations in Fostoria in 2019. The company employs about 350 people in Upper Sandusky and 120 in Fostoria. Since 2019, the company has already expanded its Fostoria plant by 27,000 square feet.