December 17, 2022
By Brian Evans, continuethestory.org
A group of local, family-owned home service companies that have served the Pickerington area for more than 50 years are among the leading forces behind a nonprofit endeavor to train people in recovery and youth aging out of foster care into skilled trade jobs where the need for qualified help is steadily increasing.
With the demand for essential skilled trade workers expected to continue to increase throughout Ohio in the coming years, the owners of Pickerington Heating & Cooling, Pickerington Plumbing & Drain, and LRF Maintenance of Pickerington are funneling portions of their profits into the endeavor, which is called the Emerge Recovery & Trade Initiative.
Emerge is located at the former Greene County Career Center — a 48-acre campus located in rural Xenia Township. The facility is currently undergoing a $1.5 million renovation to get the men’s side of the program open by early next year. Once the place is fully operational, Emerge will have 50 beds for men, 50 beds for women and 40 beds for youth emancipated from foster care.
A wide range of additional local businesses and nonprofit organizations have partnered with Emerge to make the campus the first of its kind in the nation. Emerge will design personal, transformational, and vocational pathways for people seeking recovery and youth aging out of foster care throughout the state. People completing this program will walk into their new lives in recovery with well-paying jobs and sustainable careers in the skilled trades industry, where their much-needed skills and state certifications will make them assets amid the current workforce exodus that is stretching other contractors thin.
Pickerington Heating & Cooling, Pickerington Plumbing & Drain and LRF Maintenance are all members of the Five Star Home Services family. Five Star CEO Kip Morris is a native of the Pickerington area who grew up in Central Ohio. As one of Emerge’s founders, Morris is one of the leading forces behind the endeavor. Others joining this initiative as Emerge founders include Chris Adams with Narrow Path Plumbing and Doug Van Dyke with Van Martin Roofing. Morris and his brother, Brett, took over Pickerington Heating & Cooling from their father, Howard Morris, who started their family business in 1972. Mr. Morris was a longtime community leader in Central Ohio who was well known throughout the Pickerington area. He passed away in March of this year.
Currently, organizers of Emerge are encouraging local community leaders, local business owners and other community members to get involved as the opening of the women’s side and the official start of the emancipation program will very much depend on the level of community support and community involvement.
“We are looking for people who can become mentors and people who can volunteer, in addition to individuals and organizations who are able to donate,” Morris said. “We want to make this place an ecosystem of hope, healing and opportunity. However, we need the support of our community. These young men and women need our help, and we need the support of our local community.”
If nothing else, community members in Pickerington and throughout Central Ohio can show their support for this nonprofit endeavor by choosing these local companies for all their residential services and commercial building needs. Whether it be heating, air conditioning, plumbing or electrical work, supporting Five Star and these local companies is supporting a good cause and a portion of those proceeds will go towards making your community a better place. For more information, to donate or get involved contact Elaine Bonner, Director of Philanthropy at Emerge at 937.974.6120 or visit http://www.emergerecoverytrade.com.