A program that has successfully helped to meet regional workforce needs around the state through higher education and business collaborations has – for the first time – had a capital budget allocation within the state operating budget.
The fourth and latest round of the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program was announced today by Chancellor Randy Gardner. RAPIDS grants are used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for use in learning laboratories specific to regional workforce needs. And because the laboratories are often shared among colleges and universities, the resources operate efficiently and help more students get a quality education more affordably.
With the latest announcement, the RAPIDS program, which had previous cycles funded through the state capital budget, will continue to support innovative, collaborative workforce development education and training. RAPIDS grants allow regional businesses to participate in the selection of equipment to provide Ohio students with the skills to launch careers in fields such as computer science and cybersecurity to allied healthcare.
Chancellor Gardner credited Governor Mike DeWine for recognizing the importance of the RAPIDS program and including funding for the program in the newest state operating budget, which the Governor signed on July 18.
“This program helps provide state-of-the-art equipment for students as they prepare for in-demand jobs,” Governor DeWine said. “Ensuring that Ohioans have the skills they need to fill the jobs employers are looking to fill is a priority in our budget. Ohioans are world-class workers and these grants help them receive the critical training they need.”
“If we expect Ohio’s workforce to have the skills they will need to succeed in the modern economy, then we have to make sure they are trained on modern equipment and technology,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “The RAPIDS program prepares students for reality by giving them access to the type of equipment that is being used by businesses all around the globe.”
“We appreciate the Governor’s responsiveness to the workforce development equipment needs of higher education and the sense of urgency exhibited by expediting this fourth round of RAPIDS funding in an unprecedented way,” Chancellor Gardner said.
The announcement was made during a visit to Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), which has received RAPIDS funding in previous cycles to purchase equipment in the healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and IT fields. During the visit, Chancellor Gardner, who was joined by Senate Majority Whip Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), learned more about how COTC’s RAPIDS grants have helped students.
“The advanced technology COTC has brought into the classroom through past RAPIDS funding has had a direct impact on teaching and learning, enabling COTC to continue to directly align with changing workforce needs,” said COTC President Dr. John M. Berry.
This latest round of funding will provide $8 million in awards to be distributed across the state. A request for proposals is now posted on the Department of Higher Education’s website at www.ohiohighered.org/rapids. RFP submission dates are September 20 through October 4.
“The RAPIDS program demonstrates the critical role that our institutions of higher education play in driving local and regional economies,” Chancellor Gardner said. “And it strengthens the alignment between education and business across the state.”
About the Ohio Department of Higher Education
The Ohio Department of Higher Education (formerly known as the Ohio Board of Regents) is a Cabinet-level agency for the Governor of the State of Ohio that oversees higher education for the state. The agency’s main responsibilities include authorizing and approving new degree programs, managing state-funded financial aid programs and developing and advocating policies to maximize higher education’s contributions to the state and its citizens.
Ohio Department of Higher Education