MANSFIELD -- At Mansfield Engineered Components, workforce development means more than hiring and retaining talent. It’s investing in the well-being of the staff and offering a chance to those facing barriers to employment.
“We try very hard to maintain a company culture based on the golden rule,” said Steve Cummins, vice president of the company. “We also acknowledge that life is full of challenges and mistakes, and that there are times when a second chance is needed.”
On Thursday, the company received an Economic Impact award from the Richland County Chamber for its innovative efforts around workforce development.
“Mansfield Engineered Components has gone above and beyond when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees,” said Clint Knight, director of workforce development for the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce.
“(Production Personnel Coordinator) Sonja Osborne is actively engaged with community programs that create opportunities for individuals with compromised backgrounds, resources for employees who face barriers to sustaining employment, all while actively engaging current employees in a variety of ways.”
Mansfield Engineered Components offers second chance employment to returning citizens through the Citizen Circle program, which helps formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate into society. It also partners with Success Unlimited to employ individuals with compromised backgrounds through the One Strike and You’re Not Out program.
“It is critical for our community to have employers who are willing to give these individuals a second chance as they want to become productive members of our community,” said Dan Dickman and Steve Wilkinson of Success Unlimited. “We would like to congratulate Mansfield Engineered Components on receiving this award. They truly are one of our community heroes.”
In order to retain employees reintegrating into the workforce, Mansfield Engineered Components partners with Catholic Charities to bring the 3E Project to its employees. Once a week, 3E Project caseworkers come to provide information and referral services to employees who need support. Some employees receive help with transportation or finding an in-network healthcare provider. Others may need a housing or utilities grant or soft skills training.
“What makes MEC so unique is their willingness to say, ‘We’re going to shift the culture internally to connect our employees with resources and let them know that we value them,’” said Famico Williams, community engagement coordinator with Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo.
Mansfield Engineered Components has also been proactive about fostering an interest in the industry among area teens. The company works with local school districts by participating in job fairs and manufacturing tours as well as offering internships.
Cummins said he hopes the award will inspire other companies to make similar workforce development efforts.
“My brother (president Bruce Cummins) and I aren't much for recognition or awards, but we are honored by the Chamber's acknowledgement of Mansfield Engineered Components,” he said. “The award is acknowledgment of the efforts of two very important MEC employees, Sonja Osborne and Mary Baker.”
“We hope the recognition might spark some interest from area manufacturers and other employers to take a broader approach when looking for new workforce talent.”