PIQUA — Edison State Community College broke ground on its new Robinson Student Career Center on Thursday afternoon, a project made possible through a $2.5 million donation from the Robinson Fund.
“This event marks a major milestone in our Robinson Student Career Center project,” said Dr. Doreen Larson, president of Edison State.
The improvements were first announced in May 2017 when Pat and Thom Robinson of the Robinson Fund presented Edison with a donation check of $2.5 million for the creation of a new student career center and campus entry point, which will be aimed at the promotion and integration of students into a growing regional workforce.
The West Hall building on Edison’s campus will receive the upgrade, as Edison is planning on building onto the West Hall building and extending it outward. The center will provide students with ongoing career-building opportunities for internships, work-study experiences and job interviews. Building plans include areas for career counseling and services, veterans’ counseling services, access to Ohio Means Jobs, interview rooms and an information desk.
“The construction of the center mirrors our evolution at Edison State,” Larson said. “We are breaking ground on a new culture of workforce and economic partnerships that does not exist solely in one department of our college, but it is a culture that permeates every aspect of our strategies, our curriculum and our services.”
Larson also took a moment to thank Pat and Thom Robinson for the donation from the Robinson Fund to make the career center a possibility, saying “Edison State has the talent and the work ethic” to exceed their expectations.
Deputy District Director Ben Thaeler from U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson’s office congratulated the college on the new career center, expressing Davidson’s support of workforce development.
State Sen. Bill Beagle also commented on how the career center will help students gain the skills that employers are seeking.
State Rep. Steve Huffman mentioned the uniqueness of college, saying Edison’s “workforce development is just wonderful.”
“This wonderful new facility is going to connect students and businesses, which will grow the economy in the Miami Valley,”said John Magill, assistant deputy chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
SHP Leading Design worked with a design team from Edison to create the new career center. Tom Fernandez, executive vice president of SHP Leading Design, thanked Pat and Thom Robinson for the donation for the building, which he said will be a physical testament to Edison’s strong commitment to students and the business community.
Pat and Thom Robinson also spoke briefly during the groundbreaking ceremony.
“Pat and I have been very lucky,” Thom Robinson said. “We’ve been married 65 years, and our luck wouldn’t be any good … unless we could share it, and we try to do that. We’ve been trying to help Edison since 1997.”
Pat Robinson said that she appreciated being at the groundbreaking ceremony and expressed her excitement for the new career center.
“I get goosebumps every time I pull in. This is just a really neat, neat place,” she said.
Pat talked about how she and Thom had the opportunity to sponsor and get to know some students at Edison over the years, including students of different ages.
“That’s what I like about this place. It’s room for everybody here,” she said.
Tom Milligan, chairman of Edison’s Board of Trustees also spoke about his confidence in Edison’s future, saying “Edison is at the forefront of helping to fill skills gap.”
“From its humbling beginnings in 1973, Edison has grown to be a comprehensive higher learning provider serving our community and industries, striving to achieve our mission of enabling students to realize their dreams,” Milligan said.
As a local business owner, Milligan added how there is a shortage of skilled workers to help create the products that his business sells. Milligan said that Edison aims to help address that shortage by training and equipping the local workforce to meet employment needs.
Milligan, along with past chairman Stan Evans of the Edison Foundation, thanked Pat and Thom Robinson again for their support of Edison.