The successes of people who are rebuilding their lives through the training and opportunities provided at the Turning Point Applied Learning Center were witnessed firsthand by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman on Wednesday when he toured the Hillsboro facility.
When he was a congressman, Portman (R-Ohio) sponsored the Second Chance Act, a bill that became law and which encourages the kind of second chances provided to individuals who are part of the Turning Point family.
Located on Homestead Avenue, Turning Point provides pre-employment training for long-term unemployed and hard to employ persons. The organization “provides hands-on training in manufacturing and construction technology (and) also provides GED preparation and counseling services as needed,” according to a program description.
On Wednesday, Portman witnessed manufacturing that is done at Turning Point through partnerships with companies like Greenfield Products, Weastec, Candle-lite and IC3D Printing, a Columbus business for which Turning Point makes filaments.
Portman and other guests toured the facility, and the senator spent considerable time talking with IC3D owner Michael Cao and Kimberly Gibson, whose card identified her as “CMO – Chief Mischief Officer.”
The company makes 3D printers, which use various processes to synthesize a three-dimensional image, particularly applicable to engineering. Portman also met with Ann Pence and Nina Pence representing Greenfield Products, which manufactures a variety of marine-related and camping products.
Portman was welcomed by Turning Point Director LuAnn Winkle, along with Scott Wheeler, plant manager, and board members including Jim Evans, president of Merchants National Bank. Rhonda Fannin with the Highland County Office of Reentry Program, described the efforts of that agency. Also on hand were county commissioners Shane Wilkin, Jeff Duncan and Tom Horst.
Wheeler led the tour of the facility, describing for Portman the various jobs performed by Turning Point employees who are rebuilding their lives. Portman also heard success stories and testimonials, and Winkle presented him with an honorary Turning Point “passport.”
The Second Chance Act sponsored into law by Portman supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism with the goal of saving taxpayer dollars. Turning Point is a Second Chance Act recipient.
Portman was the featured speaker at the Highland County Lincoln Day Dinner Wednesday evening. He is seeking re-election this year to a second term in the senate. He faces a primary challenge from Don Eckhart. Democratic candidates for the seat are Ted Strickland, Kelli Prather and P.J. Sittenfield.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.