ESCC’s grant supports workforce needs


PIQUA – Edison State Community College is one of five Western Ohio Campuses to receive a share of $8 million in the latest round of grant funding from the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program. Edison State’s award, totaling $63,060, will be used to develop talent in the robotics and advanced manufacturing fields, ultimately helping to fill a need for skilled workers.

Governor Mike DeWine, Chancellor Randy Gardner, and the Ohio legislature targeted $8 million in the most recent state operating budget to assist Ohio’s public universities, community colleges, and career technical centers in offering the most up-to-date education possible in an effort to provide a skilled workforce for in-demand jobs. The funds will provide nine regional awards as part of the Department of Higher Education’s RAPIDS program.

“The RAPIDS program awards offer a unique opportunity for Ohio’s postsecondary educational institutions and employers to help address local workforce needs,” said Governor DeWine. “Students are able to gain access to top-notch equipment that helps better prepare them for available jobs.”

RAPIDS grants are used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for use in education and training programs specific to regional workforce needs. Equipment is often shared among campuses, allowing more students to get a more affordable quality education.

“When businesses and our higher education institutions are asked to work together to develop strategic plans for using these funds, it provides students with more opportunities for success while strengthening the regional workforce and Ohio’s economy,” Chancellor Gardner said.

Equipment available in the Edison State robotics lab will provide students the opportunity to receive training on the installation, repair, and programming of collaborative industrial robots, ultimately allowing them to put their skills to use in local manufacturing facilities.

“The advisory committee for the Electrical Engineering Technology program, which includes several representatives from local manufacturers, has identified collaborative robots as an emerging technology on which students will need to be trained,” said Edison State President Dr. Doreen Larson.

The RAPIDS program was launched in 2014; these are among the fourth round of regional awards.