The Power of Partnerships! School – Business partnerships in Marion, Ohio, preparing students for local, global job market

Topics: Community Partnerships, Early College High School

Marion has teamed up with The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, Cardinal Health and META Solutions to determine the LEAN credentialing process.The Marion community spoke about a desire for their students to have access to education that connected to career pathways and Gary Barber, Superintendent of Marion City Schools, listened! Barber convened school and community leaders and, by partnering together, they created new opportunities that improve opportunities for students.

The city of Marion, Ohio, was hit hard by the recent recession, having major businesses leave and taking crucial jobs with them. It has become more important now than ever for the schools to form partnerships with the local businesses that remain, capitalizing on the city’s central location and major rail access. Nucor Steel, Whirlpool, Union Tank Car and Marion Intermodal Center are a few of the major business partners that remain.

Mr. Ted Graham, owner/operator of the Marion Intermodal Center, became instrumental in the development of a strong partnership between MIC and Marion City Schools. The facility has 2 million square feet of secure space, with easy access to CSX rail lines. An intermodal differs from standard distribution centers in that it involves the transportation of freight in a container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation (rail, ship and truck,) without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. Intermodal terminals exist in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Marion and North Baltimore.

Upon hearing about this need from the community, Mr. Barber pursued an Advanced CTE grant and started a Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management pathway at Harding High School in Marion. This two-year program enables students to practice innovative and critical thinking skills as they develop solutions to authentic logistics problems regularly faced by businesses both locally and internationally. Students will focus on the complexities businesses deal with in securing raw materials from distant locations, moving them across multiple borders, receiving them in various ports, transporting them to warehouses accessible through multiple modes of transportation, storing them efficiently and then distributing them to customers through networks that balance transit time with cost.

The instructor for the Global Logistics program, Dustin Ellis, came as a math teacher from a neighboring high school. He came because of his belief in Problem Based Learning (PBL) “Mr. Ellis understands how education can make a difference in students’ lives,” said Steve Fujii, Director of College and Career Success. Ellis attended a program at Rutgers University to gain exposure to the concepts embedded in Global Logistics.

Current students will be undertaking 12 projects throughout the course of the program, including “How do companies adjust to disruptions in a supply chain?” and “How do businesses design the most efficient warehouse to meet the needs of a customer?” Students can also earn dual enrollment credits as well as yellow belting opportunities through LEAN Six Sigma. Marion has teamed up with The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, Cardinal Health and META Solutions to determine the LEAN credentialing process.

Global Logistics students in Marion, Ohio, are learning skills that apply directly to local career pathways but are also applicable for college and careers outside of that city.

“This is the first year of the course,” said Mr. Fujii. “We believe this course will grow. We currently have 12 students in the lab setting.”

Great things to come in Marion!