DeWine visits Clark State; officials showcase investment in manufacturing programs

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Gov. Mike DeWine visited Clark State College on Monday as the college’s leadership wanted to highlight some of the investments made to its manufacturing program as well as showcase student success stories.

That included showing how state and federal dollars are being invested by the college as well as how that has increased offerings geared towards manufacturing and skilled labor jobs.

The governor was joined by Clark State representatives, local state legislators as well as Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner as they took a tour of the college’s Sweet Manufacturing Center.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Clark State College President Jo Alice Blondin said that the college has received more than $10 million in grant funding since 2014 from the Department of Labor and the Department of Defense.

She said that type of support has allowed for the growth in manufacturing offerings, including the number of certifications offered as well as the investment in up-to-date manufacturing equipment to be used by students.

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By the end of the year, Blondin said Clark State is slated to offer 10 certificate programs in manufacturing targeting those entering the industry or those who are looking for further training.

The college also offers a bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Technology Management and another for Web Design and Development. It is awaiting final approval of a third bachelor degree program, which will be focused on Addiction and Integrated Treatment Studies.

The college is also looking at potentially offering a bachelor’s of science in nursing to aid the healthcare industry in the region.

Blondin said that DeWine has been supportive of the work being done at Clark State, especially in the field of manufacturing. She said that the college wanted to showcase what was being done as well as highlight its close relationship with the local business community.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

“We are listening to our business community and responding to them,” Blondin said.

Gov. DeWine said during his visit on Monday that relationships forged between institutions like Clark State and their respective business community gives the state a competitive advantage in terms of attracting employers and economic growth.

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The tour of Clark State’s manufacturing training facility followed a meeting between the governor and the heads of community colleges across the state last week.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

DeWine noted that Clark State’s programs allow students to build up certifications and take those skills back into the workforce. He said that can lead to higher pay and career mobility.

He added that those certification programs can also start students on the path to a full degree as well as allow them to train on relevant equipment and engage in apprenticeships and internships.

“I think it is important for students when they come to a place of higher education like Clark State to be able to work on equipment that is real, equipment that is actually being used in the work place today,” DeWine told reporters on Monday.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

In addition to the tour, DeWine spoke to students who are enrolled in the college’s manufacturing programs or who are recent Clark State graduates.

He added that the future of Ohio depends “on how well we invest in our own people and make sure that everyone has the ability to live up to their god given potential.”

By the numbers

$10 million: Amount of money Clark State College has received in grant funding for manufacturing programs

2: Number of bachelor’s degrees Clark State offers

10: Number of manufacturing certificate programs Clark State will have by the end of the year

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