Students at the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Rhodes State College, Owens Community College, and Northwest State Community College – in partnership with Ohio Northern University and Tiffin University – will be able to enhance their education and job preparedness in several fields thanks to funding approved by the state Controlling Board to purchase state-of-the-art equipment.
Through partnerships with area businesses and higher education stakeholders, the campuses were able to secure funding as follows: UT, $361,749; BGSU, $145,309; Rhodes State, $115,518; Owens, $88,500; and Northwest State, $236,924. Governor John Kasich and the legislature targeted $8 million in the state capital budget to assist Ohio’s public universities, community colleges, and career technical centers in providing the most up-to-date education possible in an effort to provide a skilled workforce for in-demand jobs.
The latest round of funding, which totals $5.3 million, will allow for the purchase of equipment in the fields of information technology, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, additive manufacturing, cloud manufacturing, smart business automation, and cybersecurity. The purchases are funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s (ODHE) Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program.
Local business partners said the funding will help prepare students for in-demand jobs in the region.
“Combined with high-quality training provided by Owens, the machines requested will provide a student with the skill set needed to begin contributing to the mission, vision, and values of First Solar immediately upon hiring,” said Jay A. Lake, manufacturing workforce development and community relations manager, First Solar PBG facility.
“All of the machines that UT wishes to buy are found commonly in industry,” said Edward Markewitz, project director for Bionix Radiation Therapy.
ODHE Chancellor John Carey said the RAPIDS program has helped different regions in Ohio address their most pressing workforce needs while preparing traditional and nontraditional students for successful careers.
“When our schools collaborate to secure funding through the RAPIDS program, it gives students more opportunities to succeed while strengthening regional businesses and Ohio’s economy. It’s a win-win,” Chancellor Carey said.
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.