Edison receives grant for workforce needs

PIQUA — Edison State Community College is one of five Western Ohio Campuses to receive a share of $7.6 million in the latest round of grant funding from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE)’s Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program.

Edison State’s award, totaling $130,265, will be used for equipment to support the college’s manufacturing and automation curriculum, ultimately helping to fill a need for skilled workers.

Gov. Mike DeWine, Chancellor Randy Gardner, and the Ohio legislature targeted $7.6 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 ODHE’s RAPIDS program.

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.

“The RAPIDS program continues to be a successful way to bolster Ohio’s workforce efforts and create a pipeline of skilled workers for regional employers,” Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner said in a press release. “RAPIDS puts students at Edison State in a strong position to train and learn with up-to-date equipment and keeps them on a path to a successful career. This new funding will help Edison State continue to be a leader in advanced manufacturing, and I’m pleased that Governor DeWine and legislators continue to support this important program.”

Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machining technologies will be combined with existing robotics and industrial controls equipment in Edison State’s lab to provide students with training and skills in the automation of the machining process and allow robots to load and unload CNC equipment in an automated way. This will ultimately provide enhanced training in CNC machine programming and operation to students.

“Edison State appreciates the ongoing efforts of Chancellor Randy Gardner and the Ohio Department of Higher Education to fund initiatives that are critical to workforce training and employment,” said Edison State President Dr. Doreen Larson in the release. “This grant of $130,265 illustrates the investment of the DeWine-Husted Administration in updated equipment and teaching in advanced manufacturing. The strong regional partnerships between education and manufacturing will ensure best use of these funds for economic growth and development.”

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