The state Controlling Board this week approved an Ohio Department of Higher Education request to transfer $2,922,258 in capital funds for the purpose of providing three 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 Western and Central Ohio, and Northern Appalachia.
“This latest round of RAPIDS funding will invest nearly $8 million in these partnerships,” said Chancellor John Carey. “That investment shows Governor Kasich and the legislature are committed to building regional educational partnerships with technical and vocational training that lead to good-paying jobs in growing local industries.”
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.
The Western Ohio award goes to two consortiums organized by the community colleges and universities in the region. The first will focus on improving education and training in the health care field through partnerships to deploy and share equipment, including human patient simulators. The second partnership supports cybersecurity education and training through an investment in cyber security equipment available to all institutions. The resources will also benefit the Career and Technology Education Centers (C-TEC) in the region, and include several business partners and economic development groups, including the Regional Growth Partnership. Participating schools include Wright State University, the University of Dayton, Central State University, Clark State Community College, Edison Community College, Sinclair Community College, and the Miami Valley Career Technology Center. Regional employers said the RAPIDS grants will help fill a need for skilled workers.
“We encourage Wright State to continue to expand their coursework in these areas and enhance their focus of cybersecurity education and training in the Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) area, specifically regarding the software defined networks, embedded systems, and large-scale security data analytics using high performance computing,” said Timothy Lawrence, senior VP and general manager, advanced technology group, at MacAulay-Brown, Inc.
Bryan J. Bucklew, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, said the funding serves a critical need.
“It is crucial that healthcare students are adequately prepared on simulation equipment prior to entering the healthcare profession, and it is important that our region’s incumbent healthcare workforce maintain their competencies through professional development opportunities,” Bucklew said.
The Northern Appalachia Ohio funds are shared by colleges throughout the region that serve the oil and gas industries and healthcare fields. Participating institutions include Belmont College, Eastern Gateway Community College, Washington State Community College, and Zane State College. The initiative addresses equipment needs, curriculum development, career pathways, articulation, and strong business partnerships. Area employers see the benefits of the workforce development effort and recognize the value of equipment to addressing tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities.
“The DEL Medical Radiographic system with Canon DR will ensure the students are proficient with the radiographic equipment they will utilize while in the clinical setting, and increase their radiographic skills while performing various procedures on the patients,” said Mark Fowler, director of imaging for Southeastern Med.
Central Ohio targeted its funding to healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing, supporting the regional variety of economic activity. Participating schools include Central Ohio Technical College, Columbus State Community College, and Marion Technical College.
“The proposed RAPIDS project provides a tailored opportunity to address the growing need for qualified health technicians in regional companies. We have reviewed the proposed equipment purchase and endorse that this investment in the Anatomage tables will contribute to improving regional workforce skills through education and training,” said Deborah M. Ferguson, BSN, MAED/AEDL, RN-BC, academic partnerships project manager for OhioHealth.
The funds will support education and skills training of students and/or incumbent workers to meet the current and future talent needs of the 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 second round of 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.
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