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Having the right people is the foundation of success for any organization. However, in the current environment finding these critical resources is a significant challenge for manufacturers. According to the Manufacturing Institute, 80 percent of manufacturing executives report a moderate to severe shortage of highly skilled workers.

Ohio is fortunate to have strong network of universities with world class polymer programs feeding the pipeline with talented engineers, scientists and technologists. In today’s competitive environment, successful recruitment efforts begin with proactive engagement with these universities. Additionally, companies must understand the type of skills they require and match that with the various programs offered at different institutions.

Excellence in Education

With Ohio containing the largest polymer industry in the United States, it makes sense that Ohio is home to some of the best polymer science and engineering programs. Highlighted below are just two of Ohio’s outstanding higher education resources, University of Akron and Shawnee State University. Each program has a different focus in support the spectrum of talent needed in the polymer industry.

Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Akron

The University of Akron’s College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering is a world-renowned graduate department. Akron has a long history in the field as it was the first school to study rubber chemistry in 1909.

Today, 350 students are enrolled ranking the University of Akron as the world’s larger polymer academic program. Akron currently staffs 35 full time faculty with international recognition for their contributions to research and education in the polymer field. In addition, the college offers both the M.S. and Ph.D. degree in Polymer Engineering and in Polymer Science. Between the two departments they graduate about 50 students each year.

Shawnee State Plastic Engineering Technology

Shawnee State University’s Plastic Engineering Technology Program emphasizes processing operations that prepare students to be leaders in the industry. Extensive hands on laboratory experience is provided, as students gain technical experience using their facilities.

The focus is on establishing a strong theoretical background that allows students gain an extensive understanding of manufacturing operations. Resources provided by the program include material testing labs, operations labs, machine shops and 3D printers. Shawnee encourages the total development of manufacturing students with an emphasis placed on design, build and operations.

The program facilitates a close working relationship with faculty and students, as Shawnee State graduates about 15 students per year. They are clearly committed to the professional advancement of their students as job placement is 100 percent.

Industry – Education Partnerships

University recruiting is not a new concept. However, many employers are not leveraging the advantages that an industry – education partnership provides. It is one of the best ways to build a strong pipeline of new talent.

The Shawnee State University Career Center offers internship programs that help prepare their students to meet the needs of today’s changing workforce. Interns coming from strong university programs can assist employers with innovative ideas and technology. In addition, they are an efficient way to cultivate future full time employees.

The University of Akron Career Center offers several ways to connect with their students including:

  • Internships
  • On-campus interviews
  • On-campus employer office hours
  • Information sessions
  • Recruitment tables at Career Center events
  • Career Fairs
  • Job Postings

Developing a partnership with university career centers is simply smart business. It is a great way to find new talent and close the skills gap at your organization. It also provides a great opportunity to communicate your needs to the university and help shape the curriculum to better meet your needs in the future.

Contact us for assistance leveraging these top-notch programs and give your talent pipeline a boost!

PolymerOhio is a membership organization dedicated to accelerating growth, competitiveness and innovation in Ohio’s polymer industry. We are ready to connect you with the funding, expertise and resources you need to support and grow your business.

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