RAPID Grant Supports Workforce Development Initiatives

Northwest State Community College continues its work with six other regional educational partners through the Northwest Ohio Educational Partners Consortium, receiving a new grant of $82,562. The grant, from the Ohio Board of Regents Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills Program (RAPIDS), was established to support workforce development efforts for the region. This new grant is a continuation of a multi-phase project supported by the Department of Higher Education, with a 2014 biennium allocation of $2 million.

Utilizing current and previous funding, the grant partners continually develop training programs that include portable equipment that can be brought to various sites throughout the region for workforce training. The training supports manufacturing plants, food-processing plants, refineries, power plants, water treatment facilities and more. The training involves mechatronics, process control, and IT/cybersecurity.

“The RAPIDS program was the catalyst for our regional educational partners to come together for the first time as a unified educational body and create a consortium,” stated Todd Hernandez, vice president for innovation at Northwest State.

The Northwest Ohio Regional Training Hub (NORTH) program made some key determinations through internal research and inventory, as well as conversations with key employers and decision-makers throughout the region. “Given our manufacturing strengths and the new advanced manufacturing technologies, we are confident that the NORTH program concept will effectively address the pressing workforce development needs in northwest Ohio,” concluded Hernandez.

The initial RAPIDS grant provided funding to develop training materials and purchase equipment that is housed in two training trailers, to be used as portable classrooms that can move to various sites as needed. The trailers are housed at University of Toledo Scott Park Campus when not in use.

The RAPIDS grant is a combined effort between the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Penta Career Center (Rossford), Terra State Community College (Fremont), Rhodes State College (Lima), Owens Community College (Perrysburg) and Northwest State Community College (Archbold).