Raise The Bar Hancock County’s Educator Experience

Several teachers will be returning to local classrooms and offices this fall with new knowledge and first-hand experience in manufacturing after spending time this summer in Raise the Bar Hancock County’s Summer Educator Experience.

The Summer Educator Experience is one of Raise the Bar’s newest programs designed to bolster the local workforce by changing perceptions and attitudes of manufacturing.

Educators in the Summer Experience interacted with a variety of manufacturers to understand the industry’s scale within Hancock County.

Over two two-day sessions, one in June and the other in August, educators heard from more than 60 manufacturing employees about career paths, required skillsets, and company culture.

Educators also went on facility tours to see production in action, learning about processes from start to finish.

Host companies (and industry sector) included ROKI America (automotive), GSW Manufacturing (automotive), Freudenberg-NOK (automotive), Hearthside Solutions (food), Hamlet Protein (animal feed), Whirlpool (home appliances), Partitions Plus (paper), Werk-Brau (construction/mining), Simona PMC (plastics), and Findlay All Hazards Training Center (workplace safety).

“The companies that hosted our educators truly represented the variation of manufacturing in Hancock County. From small to large, family-owned to globally connected, and everything in between, the companies offered our participants a chance to see manufacturing as a means toward strong wages and career growth,” said Raise the Bar’s executive director Tricia Valasek.

“Educators were immersed in facilities to see that manufacturing is diverse, relies on people with strong soft skills (like accountability and work ethic), and offers roles for everyone – college degree or not. Our companies gave an above-and-beyond experience!”



Educators also spent time reflecting on how to apply what they learned in their school/office settings.

Many teachers spoke about the overwhelming need to refocus on honing soft skills, reminding themselves that accountability, deadlines, pride in work, etc. matter.

Other educators noted finding new ways to connect their standard curriculum to workplace scenarios.

A substantial number of participants intend to bring the companies into their classroom throughout the year for hands-on demonstrations and real-world learning scenarios for students, as well as to place their students with the companies for tours and work-based learning experience.

Participating school districts (and educators) included Arlington (Andrea Barger and Shane Cavinee), Cory-Rawson (Becky Bucher and Jonna Shumway), Findlay (Daniel Gosser, Brian Kirian, Mark Laux, Aaron Moyer, Jordan Nugeness, Kristina Pritchard Rowe), Findlay Digital Academy (Maria Little and Mary Rood), Fostoria (Justin Depinet), McComb (Sarah Becker), Millstream Career Center (Mark Gleason and Kate Murray), Van Buren (Bethany Archer, Brian Bratt, and Eric Heitkamp), and Vanlue (Heather Hunt and Grant Johnson). Also participating were Habitat for Humanity’s Financial Opportunity Center Career Coaches, Dustin Fuller and Phil Brock.