“Raise the Bar” Elevates Local Labor Force

. October 1, 2016.
Dan Scheaffer, director of H.I.R.E.S., and Lourie Zydonik, director of Raise the Bar, are working together to strengthen and grow Findlay’s workforce.
Dan Scheaffer, director of H.I.R.E.S., and Lourie Zydonik, director of Raise the Bar, are working together to strengthen and grow Findlay’s workforce.

Raise the Bar and H.I.R.E.S is a new initiative to grow the local workforce and fill local job vacancies. A new, 501(c)(3) non-profit initiative, with offices on the Owens Community College Findlay campus, Raise the Bar is a collaboration between five powerhouse teams: United Way of Hancock County, the Hancock County Commissioners, the City of Findlay, The Community Foundation, and Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development. The mission of Raise the Bar, working together with H.I.R.E.S (Helping Individuals Reach Employment Stability) is “to maintain a prepared, expanding workforce allowing for growth now and in the future to fulfill our economic potential.”

Beginning with Education

Growing our supply of potential wage-earners begins with a solid educational system. Raise the Bar, under its new director, Lourie Zydonik, seeks to remove barriers throughout a child’s education, fostering kindergarten-readiness and early literacy skills. “All children need access to pre-k” programs, stresses Dan Sheaffer, director of H.I.R.E.S. Programs such as “Leader in Me” during elementary school, and career exploration in high school help create “student vision,” Sheaffer says, exposing kids to many valuable career options they might not know about, “so by the time they hit middle school, the objective is to expose students to industry.”

H.I.R.E.S Fills Job Openings

Once young adults have entered the workforce, H.I.R.E.S. helps match applicants with job openings, “not only to fill positions now, but to grow into the future,” Sheaffer says. “We have more jobs than we have workers.” At least 1,600 annual local skilled positions will need to remain filled in future years if Hancock County is to maintain its low unemployment rate, according to the Raise the Bar website. In collaboration with Ohio Means Jobs, H.I.R.E.S. intends to keep locals employable and employed.

To learn more about Raise the Bar visit raisethebarhancock.org.