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Published: Saturday, 10/5/2013 - Updated: 3 years ago

Manufacturing jobs pushed to school counselors of high school students

School counselors and others who toured Walgreen's Distribution Center in Perrysburg Township. School counselors and others who toured Walgreen's Distribution Center in Perrysburg Township.

Area school counselors and others took tours of First Solar Inc. and Walgreen's Distribution Center in Perrysburg Township on Friday as the Good Jobs Committee of Wood County showcased jobs for which high school students would not need a four-year college degree.

Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Office of Economic Development, said there is a shortage for skilled workers in manufacturing. He mentioned welders, maintenance technicians, and machinists to fix robots that build things.  

"There is a need in that, and it is not going away," said Mr. Gottschalk, who is also on the Good Jobs Committee of Wood County. "It is currently an older workforce, so the demand is not going away."

Penta Career Center of Perrysburg Township hosted the event with the Good Jobs Committee of Wood County. Penta is a vocational school often used by high school students to get started on a career that may not require a college degree.

Mark Schoenlein, who serves on the Perrysburg and Penta boards of education, said sometimes it is harder convincing mothers of high school students that manufacturing may be a better fit for the student than college would be.

He said the First Solar tour showed some of the more logistical positions and future manufacturing jobs, and the Walgreen's Distribution Center had more traditional labor-intensive work. At Walgreen's, he said, there is one level of pay in the center; in First Solar, there are two levels of pay.

Perrysburg High School guidance counselor Steve Pierce said that, if the students have strong skills, they can make $13 to $17 a hour right out of high school. 

"There is a lot of opportunity in the industry," Mr. Piece said. "There is also in-house programs where you can take college classes or get further training to keep moving up. There are very positive opportunities."

Mr. Gottschalk said students can get a job out of high school and go to college later.

Contact Matt Thompson at:, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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