How one local business is getting its workers trained

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Lion Group Inc. uses the Dayton Sewing Collaborative to training employees.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Katie Gibson needed to find new work when the call center she worked at was sold and began downsizing last year.

The 32-year-old Riverside mother of two applied at Lion Group Inc., which opened a first responder clothing manufacturing plant in Dayton in 2019. She hadn’t sewn since a home economics class at Stebbins High School.

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“So it had been a very long time,” Gibson said. “I was nervous for not having any experience.”

Lion hired her and sent Gibson for a week of training at the Dayton Sewing Collaborative in March. Gibson loves her new job.

Katie Gibson sews together protective clothing for first responders.
Katie Gibson sews together protective clothing for first responders.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

“The company itself is really passionate about their employees,” Gibson said. “I’ve never worked for a company that works as hard to make sure their employees are happy and well taken care of.”

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Lion Group’s corporate headquarters was already in Montgomery County when it decided to open a manufacturing plant here. The company worked with JobsOhio, which pays the Dayton Sewing Collaborative to train Lion’s new employees, said Lisa Burr, director of operations at the manufacturing plant.

Once employees learn the basics of sewing Lion provides additional training onsite.

Allyson Evans is the sewing trainer for the Lion Group Inc. in Dayton.
Lion Group Inc. manufactures clothing for first responders. The company employees  are trained by the Dayton Sewing Collaborative.
Allyson Evans is the sewing trainer for the Lion Group Inc. in Dayton. Lion Group Inc. manufactures clothing for first responders. The company employees are trained by the Dayton Sewing Collaborative.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

“For us as a new facility starting up that Dayton Sewing Collaborative partnership has been very impactful,” Burr said “We understand that most folks don’t come with a sewing background.”

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About 80 people work at the plant, where hourly pay starts at $15 and employees get health insurance, a 401K, and paid holidays, vacation and sick leave. Employees get raises as they learn new skills.

“We currently have about 20 open manufacturing positions that I would love to get filled,” Burr said. “It’s absolutely growing. I would not be surprised in a year or two if we have double the employees we currently have.”

SEE all the Dayton Daily News Path Forward stories on workforce training in the pandemic era:

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How one local business is getting its workers trained

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