A plastics processor in Northeast Ohio is working to support diversity and inclusion.
Mercury Plastics of Middlefield is providing a $5,000 grant to the Geauga Growth Partnership for its Youth Workforce development program. Three other local organizations are supporting the program: Cleveland Foundation, the Fairmount Santrol Foundation and the Catherine L. & Edward A. Lozick Foundation.
Geauga Growth Partnership is a business-led organization dedicated to the retention, growth and attraction of jobs, investment and economic growth in Geauga County, which includes Middlefield.
Mercury's grant is part of the Million Differences campaign of Masco Corp., the Livonia, Mich.-based industrial firm that bought Mercury in late 2017. Masco is using $1 million of its 2019 philanthropic funding to support organizations across the country working to break down barriers to diversity and inclusion in America's corporate workforce through education or career resources, officials said in a news release.
Mercury President Jay Burnett said in the release that Masco values the benefits of rising talent with different perspectives and experiences.
"Ensuring that we continually seek and attract diversity in our team is an overall goal within our recruitment strategy," he added. "We look forward to working with GGP and their youth development programs as we strive to enhance our culture as an attractive employer in Northeast Ohio."
The Youth Workforce Development program works with students in grades seven-12 to help prepare them for future careers. The program includes a high school internship program for high school juniors and seniors.
In the internship program, students apply for paid summer internships with partnering companies. Students who are successfully placed complete learning workshops hosted by GGP, as well as a paid summer internship experience, officials said.
According to GGP, more than 1,400 Geauga County students participated in the training programs in 2018. On average, officials said, 90 percent of these students reported feeling more prepared to enter the workforce.
Forty percent of businesses employing interns continue that employment relationship beyond the initial internship period, they added. The program's annual economic impact on Geauga County is $80,000.
GGP President Kimm Leininger said in the release that Mercury's sponsorship "is opening new doors and new possibilities for kids allowing GGP to provide opportunities to connect Geauga County's youth to the real employment opportunities right in their own backyard."
"Mercury Plastics is helping to bridge a critical gap in Geauga County," she added.
Mercury employs 300 and had sales of $45 million in 2017. The firm makes extruded and injection molded parts for plumbing and other industries.
Mercury operates three manufacturing buildings in Middlefield. The site also has a machine shop and 3D printing capabilities for rapid prototyping of custom parts and for production of customer-specific tooling.