Last updated: March 19. 2014 9:53PM - 659 Views
By Ryan Carpe rcarpe@civitasmedia.com

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DARKE COUNTY - The Darke County Workforce Center located near Greenville Senior High School will receive $500,000 in funding from Ohio’s 2015-2016 Capital Appropriations, which will provide more opportunities for local workforce training through enhanced equipment and a facility upgrades.

“This training facility is going to offer some great educational opportunities for students as well as for the adult workforce and local industry,” said Career Technology Director David Peltz. “I’m very excited to enhance our capabilities.”

The proposed project applies to the development of a local manufacturing training facility, and will offer educational options to Darke County high school juniors and seniors in coordination with post high school degree offerings at local colleges.

Although initial requests were for $1 million dollars for the entire project, the allotment of $500,000 is a big step in the right direction.

The proposal came to fruition as both organizations toured several state manufacturing facilities and made the commitment to expand the capabilities and scope of the existing Darke County Workforce Center. To accomplish those goals, both Darke County Economic Development and the Greenville City Schools District worked to propose an advanced manufacturing laboratory as well as a computer lab to provide blended learning options.

“It’s very good timing with the resurgence of manufacturing,” said Peltz. “It’s going to help us be able to provide that local training option for students and the workforce.”

Through the upgrades, the center plans to strengthen its already successful programming, which teaches hands-on technical and interpersonal skills to current students typically under-employed and under-skilled workers.

Now that the Greenville City Schools District and Darke County Economic Development have received official word on the funding, both agencies are finalizing a plan and the costs associated with the project, said Darke County Economic Development Workforce Specialist Lisa Wendel.

Once that process is completed, the organizations will determine the amount needed beyond the $500,000 earmarked from the state capital funding.

“We have some direction for determining what avenues will fill that funding gap, but it is too early in the process to discuss specifics,” explained Wendel.

In the prior two years, Darke County lacked a comprehensive and systemic workforce development initiative, said Darke County Economic Development Director Marc Saluk. The reason, he said, was stemming from the absence of a facility on which to focus the effort. The Darke County Workforce Center was established at the Greenville Career Technical Center (CTEC) to help streamline the workforce process.

The investment from state government to the local level creates opportunity not only for the students attending today, but for the next generation of Darke County’s workforce.

“The expansion is definitely integral to our plans,” said Saluk. “Obviously, having more learning space for training and labs gives the facility an improved ability to implement the training programs we have in development with the county’s schools and businesses.”

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