Ottawa Co. students learn about local career opportunities

Press Staff Writer

        In an ongoing effort to educate and engage students in the different career opportunities available to them within the community, the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council held its sixth annual Career Showcase event at the CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry on Oct. 4, in conjunction with National Manufacturing Day.
        More than 500 ninth-grade students from school districts throughout Ottawa County participated in the event and explored a variety of careers with 28 county businesses.
        Businesses created hands-on activities to demonstrate career skill sets, including sheetrock plastering and molding activities and operating a backhoe. Students also participated in safety relays, athletic training and physical therapy challenges, team-building exercises, and chemistry experiments.
        U.S. Gypsum offered a hands-on experience using sheetrock joint compound and sheetrock joint tape to patch dents in wallboard.
        The students also had the opportunity to create small molded figurines by hand-mixing USG Moulding Plaster with water. In this activity, they were able to observe the re-hydration process of calcined gypsum (aka plaster), which turns plaster powder to solid gypsum rock within minutes.
        “It was exciting to see how interested students were,” said Michaela Valenta, project engineer at USG. “We received a lot of good questions, ranging from everything involving the chemistry of the gypsum rehydration reaction to the types of jobs available at our plant.”
        State Sen. Theresa Gavarone, Ohio Senate District 2, also attended the event. “There are countless career paths accessible to students in Ottawa County, and I appreciate the organizations involved in showing them the endless opportunities that exist in our region,” she said.
        Businesses participating in the event included 200th RED HORSE Squadron, Allen-Clay Joint Fire District, Associated General Contractors, Bay Point Resort, Civilian Marksmanship Program, COACT Associates, Davis Besse Nuclear Power Station, GenoaBank, Genoa Retirement Village, Graymont Dolime, Lake Erie Shores & Islands, Luckey Farmers, Magruder Hospital, McDonalds, National Park Service, OhioMeansJobs Ottawa County, Ohler & Holzhauer, Ottawa County Engineer’s Office, Ottawa County Sheriff's Office, Ottawa County Sanitary Engineer’s Office, Ottawa Soil & Water Conservation District, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Port Clinton Auto Repair, Rudolph Libbe Construction, and U.S. Gypsum.
        The Ottawa County Skilled Trades Academy and the Marine Apprenticeship Program were also featured at the event.
        Organizers credited event volunteers including Shanna Strouse, Tami Matthews, Valerie Winterfield, Genoa Mayor Ken Harsanje, Kim Harsanje, Mary Wilson and TNT Mentoring.
        For more info on the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council, visit or contact Jamie Beier Grant at 419-898-6242 or


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