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 Southwest Ohio award goes to two consortia organized by the region’s community colleges and universities – the University of Cincinnati, Miami University, Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, and Butler Tech. The first will support cybersecurity education and training through an investment in cyber security equipment available to all institutions. The resources will also benefit the regional business partners and economic development groups. The second initiative will expand education and training in the areas of advanced manufacturing and robotics. Regional employers said the RAPIDS grants will help fill a need for skilled workers.
“We are fully supportive of the proposal to create a robotics and flexible manufacturing lab at Miami University Regionals because it would provide the much-needed instruction to meet the highly skilled workforce demands of this field,” said Drew Bachman, president of Antenen Robotics.
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.