Clark State Community College has been selected to receive $93,131 as part of the RAPIDS—Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills program—from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE).
The RAPIDS funding available totaled $1.9 million and is slated for the purchase of equipment in the fields of information technology, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and health care.
“Clark State showed that the industrial maintenance RAPIDS grant will address a pressing workforce need in the region while giving its students—both traditional and nontraditional—a path to a good-paying job within their community,” said Jeff Robinson, director of communications for the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin said Clark State is committed to working with the Western RAPIDS consortium as part of the proposal for the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) III grant.
“The focus of the Western RAPIDS consortium, virtual reality in the classroom, is becoming a great tool for giving students hands-on experiences right in the classroom,” she said. “Clark State will be using this technology to strengthen Clark State’s Cybersecurity/Information Assurance, Manufacturing and Physical Therapist Assistant programs.”
Blondin said employers in the area are looking for graduates that have a wide variety of strong skills upon hire in order to meet industry demands. “While real-world experiences such as co-ops and internships will continue to be important educational opportunities for our students, virtual reality offers the chance to practice additional skills. Clark State is an area leader in training local workers for high-tech, in-demand careers,” she said. “We are always seeking out innovative ways to educate the workforce of tomorrow in an increasingly technological world. With technical programs like those offered by Clark State, hands-on experiences both in the field and in the classroom are essential, and virtual reality expands students’ opportunities like never before.”
Clark State was able to secure the funding by partnering with area business and higher education stakeholders. 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 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.