'Bryan Built'

Mark Rairigh, left, Bryan City Schools superintendent, and Amy Miller, executive director of the Bryan Area Foundation, are two local community leaders who are spearheading the “Bryan Built” initiative. “Bryan Built” is a collaboration by Bryan community leaders to connect Bryan High School graduates with career and job opportunities in the Bryan area.

It’s called “Bryan Built,” and it’s a collaboration between community leaders, the Bryan Area Foundation and Bryan City Schools to connect Bryan High School graduates with career and job opportunities in the area.

Many times, BHS graduates leave for college or job opportunities outside the Bryan area, and don’t come back. The Bryan Built initiative seeks to target those college kids, or anyone who has graduated from Bryan in the 18-25 age category, and connect them with career and job opportunities in Bryan.

“We’re trying to create connections with Bryan kids with jobs and professional opportunities in the Bryan area,” said Amy Miller, executive director of the Bryan Area Foundation — and a 1997 BHS graduate who returned to Bryan after college.

In an effort to reach out, create those connections and offer support to those Bryan graduates ages 18-25, the first “Bryan Built” event is set for 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 5, at Kora Brew House & Wine Bar, in the city’s downtown.

It’s an opportunity for Bryan Built community leaders (those who have graduated from Bryan and have returned to the area to live and work) to meet, greet and share the benefits of returning to the Fountain City to live, work and raise a family.

Summer and winter breaks — and social gatherings like the one Aug. 5 at popular local establishments — is the opportune time to make those connections, along with using social media, Miller said.

Bryan City Schools Superintendent Mark Rairigh helped hatch the initiative and was among a committee of local “influencers” — including Miller and representatives from Bard Manufacturing, Ohio Art, Spangler Candy Co. and the Williams County Economic Development Corporation — that began meeting this past spring to discuss and plan the project.

Rairigh said the end goal is to improve the return rate of Bryan graduates to the area upon graduation from college, or who may be seeking a job change, to come back to Bryan live, work and give back to the community that “built” them.

“We really want to open the door for these Bryan graduates to the options and opportunities that exist right here in Bryan. These former Bryan students learned the components of success — hard work, determination, grit and how to practice service above self — right here in Bryan. Those are truly Bryan Built and we want them to bring their talents back here to Bryan,” Rairigh said.

Niki Mosier, human resources manager for Spangler Candy Co., emphasized it’s important to let Bryan graduates know opportunities abound and success is available for those who have college experience but also for those who seek work in a manufacturing environment.

Mosier has been instrumental in developing “manufacturing camps” for local students that show the kinds of “hands-on” jobs, challenges and opportunities that exist in the local manufacturing sector.

“We want to engage with them, connect with them and offer support so we can improve the retention rate for Bryan students who may leave here for college or other opportunities, but are open to returning here,” said Mosier, a 1995 Bryan High graduate who stayed here after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Defiance College.

For more information on “Bryan Built,” see the Facebook page at: https://fb.me/e/ZlcR4w2a.

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