MARIETTA, OHIO (November 28, 2018)—The Ohio Department of Higher Education recently awarded Washington State Community College (WSCC) more than a $300,000 as part of the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) grant.
RAPIDS is a $5.3 million grant funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s (ODHE) and distributed throughout the state. Nearly $1 million was allocated to the SE region of Ohio which is comprised of Washington State and three other community colleges.
Through the grant, each institution will partner with a nearby career center and together they will establish a systemic approach to training students for in-demand occupations associated with manufacturing, construction, industrial maintenance, and ancillary industries. “When our schools collaborate to secure funding through the RAPIDS program, it gives students more opportunities to succeed while strengthening regional businesses and Ohio’s economy. It’s a win-win,” said ODHE Chancellor John Carey.
WSCC, who received $303,000, the largest portion of the regional funds, is partnered with Washington County Career Center (WCCC). Through the grant process, the two institutions worked to identify equipment at both campuses that would provide the most up-to-date training for students while avoiding duplication and providing opportunities for continued education.
The Engineering program at WSCC and WCCC’s Instrumentation and Electricity program complement each other well and provide a direct pathway from the high school and adult career program level to an associate’s degree, ultimately laying the groundwork for a smooth transition to a 4-year college. Through the carefully designed curriculum and articulation agreements, Washington State and WCCC have built a number of pathways that offer employment opportunities at various levels of education.
“Our area has an abundance of career opportunities for students graduating with an industrial or engineering degree, whether it be our Electrical Engineering Technology – Instrumentation, Control & Electrical program, our Industrial Technology programs, or our future robotics and mechatronics program,” said Brenda Kornmiller, WSCC’s Dean of Business, Engineering, Public Service & Liberal Arts. “We worked closely with several business partners, including our long-time partner ProFusion Industries who supported our proposal for this grant. They confirmed their industry, polymer manufacturing, as well as others in the Mid-Ohio Valley, are projecting growth, and that means an increased demand for a skilled workforce. This grant provides us the funds to purchase the tools and equipment necessary to ensure our students are well trained and ready to fill these positions.”
A collection of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) trainers, robotics and automation trainers, and tools for electrical technician training are among the items the College will purchase with the grant funds.
Since 2015, Washington State has been instrumental in bringing more than $3 million in grant funds to the SE Ohio region and nearly $1 million to the College by leading regional planning and proposal development for RAPIDS funding.