Department of Higher Education Announces First Regional RAPIDS Awards

COLUMBUS, Ohio (2015-11-09) — 

The state Controlling Board today approved an Ohio Department of Higher Education request to transfer $2 million in capital funds for the purpose of providing two regional awards for workforce development projects relating to the department’s Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program. 

The funds will be awarded for projects in central and southeast Ohio.

“Governor Kasich and the Legislature want to strengthen our workforce throughout all regions using an economic development focus, building a foundation that will carry Ohio well into the future,” said Chancellor John Carey. “What makes investment sense from the state level is awarding efforts that partner to expand strong, existing programming that will lead to good-paying jobs for Ohio students.”

The central Ohio award goes to a collaborative formed by Columbus State Community College, Marion Technical College, and Central Ohio Technical College that will focus on manufacturing occupation education and training for entry to mid-level positions. Included is funding for equipment that will be housed at the Career and Technology Education Centers (C-TEC) of Licking County. The collaborative also includes several business partners and economic development groups, including Columbus 2020.

Chancellor Carey said these collaborations are a prime example of colleges and universities sharing resources to operate more efficiently and help their students get a quality education more affordably.

“We congratulate the state for providing this opportunity for colleges to strengthen educational programs, which will help Whirlpool fill employment needs,” said a spokesperson for Marion-based Whirlpool.

“The mobile lab (provided through this funding) is an essential piece in the puzzle to attract and train individuals for manufacturing careers,” a representative from Honda said. “Entering manufacturing with knowledge of computerized systems creates an individual versatility essential to manufacturing operations.”

The southeast Ohio award goes to the Southeast Ohio RAPIDS Investment Consortium, composed of Ohio University’s Southern and Chillicothe campuses, Shawnee State University and Southern State Community College. The group identified three areas for workforce development investment – environmental safety/security, advanced manufacturing, and health and wellness – with regional business support from numerous economic development partners.

“We are keenly interested in this (program) because of the pressing need to add high-demand healthcare professionals to the regional workforce,” a spokesperson for Laurels of Hillsboro said.

“We support the concept of portable education and training solutions and believe this is an excellent means of providing environmental safety and security training,” said a representative from Americas Styrenics in Marietta. “We like this concept because we believe that training is most effective when it is delivered at the worksite rather than in traditional classrooms.”

The funds will support education and skill training of students and/or incumbent workers to meet the current and future talent needs of growing, emerging and high-demand industries by investing in capital equipment and facilities. Businesses, colleges and universities, and career technical centers were asked to work together to develop strategic plans for using the funds. The RAPIDS program was launched in 2014; these are the first of the regional awards. Other regions will be funded as those collaborative strategic plans are submitted.

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.

Contact Information: 

Ohio Department of Higher Education Contact:
Jeff Robinson
Office: 614.752.9487