Summer job forecast sunny

Contrary to past years, when the pickings were slimmer, high school graduates and college students on break should find summer job hunting in Fulton County not as difficult.

Economic conditions have eased, making manufacturing, retail, and restaurant positions available, said Cara Leininger, workforce development coordinator for the Fulton County OhioMeansJobs office.

“There’s a lot of employment available, more than last summer. The economy changed, and employers are in need,” she said.

In fact, area manufacturers are requesting high school graduates and college students to help fill their needs. International Automotive Components, 555 W. Linfoot St. in Wauseon, has grown so quickly after contracting with the Ford Motor Company that about 50 full-time positions remain open. Katie Allen, IAC’s human resource specialist, said the manpower shortage has the plant willing to take on summer help this year.

Leininger said there are enough jobs this season to go around, more than were available last summer. She said young people who register with OhioMeansJobs, located at 604 S. Shoop Ave. in Wauseon, have free access to job postings, classified ads in area newspapers, and support services such as skill testing and help with resume and cover letter writing.

“This is a good year. We haven’t seen a year like this in a long time,” Leininger said. “A lot of employers have already started employing. A lot more are still looking.”

She said unemployed residents are familiar with the resource center, but often young people looking for summer work aren’t.

They also may not know about YouthWorks, a federally-funded program within OhioMeansJobs that focuses on youth age 14-21 with educational and employment barriers. In many instances, the youth are school dropouts or criminal offenders, or have parents who are unemployed.

Financed through the Workforce Investment Act, the program offers those who meet the special criteria part-time, paid internships at cooperating businesses to gain experience.

“We try to place them in work experiences the client is interested in doing. Fulton County businesses have been compliant and wonderful to work with,” YouthWorks Advisor Molly Pfund said.

Youth are often referred to the program through their schools or the court system. Each case is individually assessed to determine what education and training is needed. Some participants require a GED or want to pursue job licensing or certification.

YouthWorks gets training assistance from Northwest State Community College and Four County Career Center.

And the program stays with the participants as long as necessary. “We may follow the client for several years. It’s not always a short program,” Pfund said.

Once the person has completed the internship YouthWorks can offer additional training or help find them permanent employment.

Sauder Woodworking in Archbold has a well-established summer job program, according to Martha Gebers, employment manager. The company hires college students during summer breaks to fill in for employees taking vacation.

There are also summer internships available in areas such as manufacturing, engineering, human resources, marketing, quality, and information technology, both in technical and management leadership tracks. “We’re kind of investing in the furture. It’s good for us to get a new perspective, new insights, especially from the millenials,” Gebers said.

Sauder matches student work schedules to their school schedules. Work often begins in May, and continues until sometime in August, when most college students return to class.

Gebers said most summer positions have already been filled, but several are still available. She said there also are permanent full-time positions available for high school graduates willing to remain in the area.

Prospective employees can fill out an application at