The state Controlling Board this week approved an Ohio Department of Higher Education request to transfer $3,606,352 in capital funds for the purpose of providing four 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 Southwest, Northwest, Southeast, and the western portion of Northeast Ohio.
“The ongoing investment in the RAPIDS program 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,” said Chancellor John Carey.
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 Southeast Ohio funds are shared by colleges throughout the region that serve the information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care fields – Shawnee State University, Southern State Community College, Rio Grande Community College, Ohio University, Hocking College, Scioto Career and Technical Center, and Buckeye Hills Career Center. The initiative addresses equipment needs, curriculum development, career pathways, articulation, and strong business partnerships.
Regional employers said the RAPIDS grants will help fill a need for skilled workers.
“The industry is expanding rapidly and the need for specialized and knowledgeable workforce with robotics and automation experience continues to be a challenge,” said Dan Anstatt, operations manager for the region’s Micro Machine Works.
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 among the second round of regional awards. Other regions will be funded as those collaborative strategic plans are submitted.
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.