Local manufacturing companies seeking apprentices


By Jordyn Grzelewski

jgrzelewski@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

To begin his career, Mike Koprivnak had to leave the Mahoning Valley.

It took him 15 years to return.

Now that he’s back, he and others in the local manufacturing industry want to help people find work and stay in the Valley.

To that end, more than a dozen local manufacturers came together Thursday at Choffin Career & Technical Center for the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition’s first Apprenticeship Job Fair. A similar event took place in Lisbon last week.

Jessica Borza, the MVMC executive director, explained the fair is a response to a change in the local manufacturing industry.

“We’ve been working on building up apprenticeships in our area again,” she said. “What we were seeing is there’s more of a willingness to hire people and train them on the job.”

Local manufacturers are looking to fill more than 50 paid apprenticeships for machinist, welding/fitting and industrial maintenance positions.

Borza said these apprenticeships provide pathways to good jobs that pay more than $70,000 per year, and which provide benefits, retirement contributions and help paying for college.

Applicants need not have manufacturing experience, although those with experience will receive preference.

Participants in the apprentice fair said there is a growing need to fill manufacturing jobs.

Koprivnak is general manager at Brookfield-based Legacy Measurement Solutions, which produces equipment used in the oil and gas industry at well sites.

“We’ve essentially doubled our business because of the growth in oil and gas, and we’ve been trying to double our workforce,” he said.

It would be easy to do that with candidates from other regions, he said, but the company wants to hire local employees.

“We want to offer employment to local candidates that is going to be steady, stable and an opportunity for them to support their families,” he said.

Dale Foerster, MVMC president and Starr Manufacturing Inc. vice president, feels the same way.

“We all live here. Our businesses are here. Our families are here,” she said. “We would like to see our area progress, and we would like to be able to give great opportunities to people here and enable them to stay local.”

Visit MVMC’s website, industryneedsyou.com, for information.

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