Northwest State and Exploring™ Collaborate on Career Education

The Black Swamp Area Council’s Exploring Division is excited to announce a great collaboration that includes Northwest State Community College, Impact 419, Ohio Means Jobs, and the CCMEP Young Adult Program.

This new program is a continued effort to engage students with hands-on experiences, provide mentors, network with potential employers, and equip youth with life and career skills needed to become productive in the career field they chose. Teens in the Impact 419 program will investigate careers considered in demand by Ohio Means Jobs during monthly meetings, beginning in early September.

During the meetings, students will get hands-on experience in a different career field in the labs at Northwest State and will then return to their home county to further investigate the career at a local business that corresponds with that month’s career. This new program allows for students to learn about numerous careers, understand the opportunities that are available to them locally, and provides students with the knowledge of what skills and certifications are needed to be successful in their career.

“Northwest State is thrilled to participate in this collaboration. It is part of a larger initiative to engage our youth in experiential learning opportunities to help them determine their pathway to a career,” noted Todd Hernandez, executive vice president for Northwest State.   

Impact 419 is a workforce initiative that serves young adults in Auglaize, Defiance, Henry, Paulding, Williams, and Wood Counties. The initiative provides supportive career coaching, work experiences, and the opportunity to find your career pathway.

The Exploring™ program covers thirteen counties in northwest Ohio, enabling students to discover their future through immersive, hands-on career experiences. The Exploring™ program serves students ages 14-20, who have completed the 8th grade, and seeks to shape the workforce of tomorrow by engaging and mentoring today’s youth.

To learn more about the Impact 419, contact Andrea Morrow, training coordinator with Northwest State, at or 419.771.3121. To find out more about Exploring™, contact Matt Kibler, Exploring executive, at or 567.245.1259.

NSCC & Terra State Collaborate on Enrollment and Workforce Development

The collaborative spirit of two community colleges in northwest Ohio was on display last Thursday as representatives from Terra State Community College visited Northwest State Community College for an exchange of ideas and best practices. Terra State has made a tremendous turnaround on its enrollments, having gone three consecutive semesters with increases. Northwest State is lauded throughout the region, and the state, for its workforce development efforts. What ensued was a day of in-depth conversations with a show of mutual respect and appreciation for the power of teamwork and the impact of a quality education on the overall community.

NSCC President Dr. Michael Thomson offered his perspective, “In northwest Ohio, we work together to help each other. Building partnerships is the way we move things forward. President Ron Schumacher and his team provided valuable assistance for NSCC’s newly created Enrollment Management Team. The Terra team stressed the importance of working college-wide on enrollment, the value of building individual relationships in enrollment work and the appropriate use of technology to free up team members’ time. Terra has used a variety of techniques with positive enrollment success in the last three terms. We are hoping to adapt those best practices at NSCC as we strive for a more sustainable enrollment future.”

Terra State President Dr. Ron Schumacher echoed those sentiments, “Terra State is proud to continue to collaborate with our partners across the state. Having an opportunity to work with our friends at Northwest State was truly special for me and the team from Terra State! We will continue to work closely together to solve the many issues around the State of Ohio.”

NSCC Celebrates Alumni Success in Defiance

By: Dr. Michael Thomson, NSCC President

NSCC has over 11,000 alumni and the great majority live in Northwest Ohio. So, NSCC hit the road and celebrated our great alumni. We stopped on August 8 in the City of Defiance to celebrate our great partnership with the city, the many wonderful alumni, our partnership with many local companies and the students who attend NSCC. We are just so grateful for our many friends whose help is invaluable in our mission to turn students’ hopes and dreams into a better life through education.

My thanks to Foundation Executive Director Robbin Wilcox and Audrey Lehman who organized the event and helped raise over $2,000 for our students. We also thank State Bank for hosting our road show to thank our many friends! We look forward to taking our road show to a town near you.

On behalf of NSCC, we just wanted to say thanks to the many alumni, distinguished alumni, employers, and partners who contribute in helping make Defiance a great place to live. We are committed to helping all the cities in our service area thrive. We are #NSCCProud and unabashed in advocating for northwest Ohioans to live, learn and work local. By working together with our many great partners, we can keep our talent in northwest Ohio and provide many families with a high quality of life.

NSCC Partners with DOL to Help Expand Apprenticeships

Northwest State Community College is partnering with regional community colleges and industry partners, as well as the U.S. Department of Labor as part of a continued effort to expand apprenticeship opportunities in the United States. Grants received where Northwest State will provide direct support total approximately $360,000-$90,000 annual over four years.

Per the Department of Labor (“Department”), a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was made public that would establish a process for the U.S. Department of Labor to advance the development of high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs). The Department further announced awards totaling $183.8 million to support the development and expansion of apprenticeships for educational institutions partnering with companies that provide a funding match component. The Department will also make available an additional $100 million for efforts to expand apprenticeships and close the skills gap.[1]


The Department awarded three separate grants in Ohio, each including academic institutions and consortia with private-sector partners:

Information Technology: Columbus State Community College and 25 colleges and universities with 10 firms

Information Technology: University of Cincinnati and five colleges with Northrup Grumman, IBM, GE Aviation and four firms

Advanced Manufacturing: Lorain County Community College and Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers, Ohio Manufacturers Association and National Institute of Metalworking Skills


“In addition to serving as a training partner for the region, Northwest State Community College is the fiscal agent for the northwest Ohio region,” said Todd Hernandez, NSCC executive vice president. Hernandez noted the local grant totals approximately $90,000 per year, for a period of up to four years.

NSCC President Dr. Michael Thomson added, “This Department of Labor grant demonstrates how the Ohio community colleges work together to acquire major resources that have a positive impact on our local economies. We have established a great track record with the Department of Labor and this new funding will lead to more quality trained apprentices in high-demand fields.”

Northwest State Community College is a proud partner of the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, offering apprenticeship training in the electrical field at locations throughout Ohio. These locations include Rossford, Akron, Cincinnati, Dayton, Lima, Lorain and Youngstown to name a few. The College also specializes in advanced manufacturing training at its UT-Scott Park location, a highlight of which is the recent Jeep training for hundreds of employees. More information on these opportunities is available at


“The apprenticeship model of earning while learning has worked well in many American industries, and today we open opportunities for apprenticeships to flourish in new sectors of our economy,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said. “With 7.4 million open jobs and job creators searching for skilled job seekers, apprenticeship expansion will continue to close the skills gap and strengthen the greatest workforce in the world – the American workforce.” [2]



Northwest State and Ohio Means Jobs Partner on Impact 419 STEM Camp

Impact 419, a workforce collaboration between Northwest State Community College and OhioMeansJobs serving young adults age 14-24 in northwest Ohio, will host a two-day STEM Camp on July 31 and August 1, 2019.

This STEM Camp is part of the ongoing effort to provide opportunities for young adults to gain knowledge of career pathways and job opportunities in the local community and the skills and qualifications necessary to be successful in these positions. Funding for this camp is made available through the OhioMeansJobs young adult programs. Twenty-seven high school students enrolled in Impact 419 from Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert and Williams County will experience hands-on, interactive workshops on robotics, welding, electricity, blueprint and measurements and safety.

Megan Puehler, assistant director of Williams County Economic Development, noted, “This STEM Camp is another great example of how an idea became a reality through idea sharing and a collaborative effort! It’s wonderful to be a part of these workforce development programs and help make the connections with our local businesses. Programs such as STEM camps and industry tours allow students to grasp the practical applications of STEM and will expose them to the wide variety of local career opportunities simultaneously. Continued collaborative efforts to create programs like this will support the long-term needs of the community and will truly Impact the 419.”

The campers will also tour the 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics plant in Holiday City as a part of the camp experience. Nikki Verity, human resource manager, stated, “20/20 Custom Molded Plastics is excited to partner with Impact 419. As an employer serving multiple counties, we feel it is important to help organizations teach skills and have life experiences preparing them for their future. At 20/20, we take a full life approach to helping our employees grow in the work place, home and the community. By participating in STEM Camp, this gives us an opportunity to reach out to local youth and help them learn about manufacturing and prosper in their environment.”

To learn more about Impact 419 or ways to partner with Northwest State and OhioMeansJobs to connect with young adults contact Andrea Morrow, training coordinator with Northwest State, at 419.771.3121 or

Community College Presidents Meet With Ohio’s Governor

On July 26, Governor MiKe DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted hosted the community college presidents at the governor’s mansion to discuss our role in the future of Ohio’s economy.

A majority of the community college presidents attended the breakfast, including Northwest State Community College’s President Michael Thomson. The presidents expressed strong thanks to the governor and lieutenant governor for the supportive work they did in the recent budget session.

The conversation rotated around two key themes. First, there are some opportunities in the new budget for community colleges to work with businesses and other partners to help better Ohio’s economy. In particular, the “Tech Cred” program was discussed as a primary tool to help Ohio’s incumbent workers upscale and stay current in today’s fast-changing economy. Tech Cred provides funding for in-demand jobs and deepens the partnerships that community colleges already have with Ohio businesses. It will be a major tool for economic development organizations to keep, grow or bring new businesses into Ohio.

Another opportunity in the upcoming budget is the new community college accelerated program. This program, already piloted by three Ohio community colleges, has shown incredible promise to improve graduation rates and speed up progress of students to a credential or a degree. Dr. Thomson, who ran the original pilot program at his previous post and Cleveland, noted, “We’ve made great strides in getting 15 to 20% higher graduation rates and students to a community college degree in three years or less. The Ohio data mirrors previous successes in New York and could provide an express route to get more graduates into the workforce faster.”

The second theme of the conversation was the importance of building new partnerships to leverage our strengths as we move forward. Community colleges already have long-established relationships with local businesses, career centers, K-12 schools and four-year universities. New partners in our work include Ohio’s Job and Family Services, faith-based partners, addiction recovery services, foster care parents and correctional facilities. Dr. Thomson thanked Lieutenant Governor Husted for his visit to the Defiance Dream Center where the first batch of graduates received construction skills, a highly sought after career path in this area.

At the meeting’s close, the community college presidents reiterated their thanks to the administration for providing much-needed resources to help Ohio stay vibrant in today’s fast-changing economy and expressed a strong willingness to collaborate and create new and innovative solutions for our state.