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North Central State College is among the leaders when it comes to innovative thinking and collaboration in workforce skills training and alignment INSIDE:

> LCCC’s MyEmployer Guarantee Program > A Critical Cog in Northwest Ohio’s Economic Engine > Bringing Ideas to Life

Fall 2014

Volume 2 Issue 4


ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business

This is a quarterly e-newsletter designed to connect Ohio higher education to the business community. In this publication, you will learn about the efforts of the Ohio Board of Regents to move students from the classroom to the workforce; and about research and idea development happening within the University System of Ohio that is benefiting Ohio businesses.

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business | Volume 2 Issue 4

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business



he start of a new school year is always an exciting time. Students begin classes or return to campus with dreams they’d like to pursue or thoughts of careers they’d like to have. With that in mind, it’s important that our colleges and universities work with Ohio employers to make students aware of career opportunities across our state.


We try to raise that awareness with each issue of ConnectED. In this issue, you’ll learn about a Lorain County Community College program that guarantees the quality of its graduates, and hear about a program at Kent State University that makes business ideas a reality. We also take a look at what one ABLE program is doing to boost the local economy, and we catch up with two students from a previous issue of ConnectED to see how their career paths are taking shape. I hope you enjoy this issue of ConnectED, and I hope you’ll let us know what stories you’d like to see in a future issue. After all, keeping our colleges and universities ConnectED with the business community is great, but only if we keep our readers ConnectED, as well.

John Carey

Chancellor, Ohio Board of Regents

Collaboration for the Workforce North Central State College is among the leaders when it comes to innovative thinking and collaboration in workforce skills training and alignment

LCCC’s MyEmployer Guarantee Program Ensures Employers Get Quality Workers LCCC has guaranteed the quality of its graduates to local employers

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ABLE Program: A Critical Cog in Northwest Ohio’s Economic Engine The difference between a stalling regional economy and a thriving one


Bringing Ideas to Life A look at the Kent State University Blackstone LaunchPad


Where Are They Now? A “progress report” on what former students have been doing since being interviewed for ConnectED




for the


Featured Story

North Central State College (NCSC) is among the leaders when it comes to innovative thinking and collaboration in workforce skills training and alignment. NCSC’s efforts were born out of a need for partnerships with industry, and in the last few years, the need has been met through new programs and training. The goal of the Workforce Partnership of North Central Ohio is to keep an open discussion, create collaborative efforts, and utilize the skill sets, facilities, and faculty available at each location, all while reducing competition and confusion for businesses and manufacturing. The Partnership now serves as a central location, administrative hub, and single point of contact for communicating training needs, particularly for the incumbent workforce. According to executive director Mary Beth Busch, the Partnership “keeps the lines of communication open between NCSC, the career centers, our Workforce Investment Boards, economic development groups, and all invested in the success of our employers.” Busch will lead the development of this Partnership and help guide the partners in offering services to local businesses. The Partnership arose after

FALL 2014

the 2009 closing of the General Motors stamping plant in Ontario, OH led to an unwanted competition between NCSC and two of Richland County’s career centers – Pioneer Career and Technology Center and Madison Adult Career Center, as many then-unemployed residents started to seek additional education to improve their career outlook. Recently the Partnership developed a relationship with Covert Manufacturing, where NCSC is providing classes on site for employees to work toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in mechanical engineering. Busch said the work taking place at NCSC, along with other collaborations, will allow the Partnership to “further develop a number of non-credit packages that will serve as steps on the career pathway via PLA [Prior Learning Assessment] procedures to academic credentials.” Along with membership in the Partnership, this collaboration has also allowed NCSC to further its workforce development initiatives through a recent grant from the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR). NCSC was awarded an equipment grant to make purchases for a Fab-Lab, a fabrication laboratory that will allow for digital fabrication. The NCSC Fab-Lab will contain various machines and computers, including 3-D rapid prototyping machines, an Epilog laser engraver/cutter, a vinyl printer/cutter, benchtop CNC milling machine, laser scanner, and professional series computer systems.The Fab-Lab will also provide a hands-on environment for students. According to Dr. Gregory Timberlake, academic dean at NCSC, the grant, “combined with our $2.9 million TAACCCT grant (United States Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program), is creating additional opportunities for us to serve businesses in our region and tighten our academic/workforce partnerships at the same time.” The



skills needed in the business world are an important component to which NCSC will be aligning learning outcomes with the help of the TAACCCT grant. Through this alignment of outcomes and goals, NCSC will be able to utilize PLA tools to understand where incumbent workers fit along a degree or certificate program path, without making them start from the beginning. This change in the system will allow NCSC to help incumbent workers move into higher skilled areas in a shorter time period, thus serving the workers, their families, and the employer. Along with this focus on incumbent workers, the NCSC Fab-Lab will also connect the college to local businesses. The Fab-Lab will provide local industry partners with the ability to prototype product improvements and also new products prior to full development. This will impact local start-ups and business development, because entrepreneurs can contact NCSC for prototyping their new products in order to show investors the potential success. Due to the current relationships NCSC holds with the local Small Business Development Center and Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership – housed at NCSC’s Kehoe Center along with the Partnership’s executive director – the Fab-Lab and its goals and priorities are aligned with the current academic programs at NCSC.

Featured Story

NCSC is seeking to not only lead the region in workforce collaboration, but also set an example within Ohio of what one college can accomplish through working with partners to promote job growth for the region.

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business | Volume 2 Issue 4

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LCCC’S MyEmployer Guarantee PROGRAM ENSURES EMPLOYERS GET QUALITY WORKERS Lorain County Community College (LCCC) has guaranteed the quality of its graduates to local employers with the adoption of the MyEmployer Guarantee by the LCCC Board of Trustees. The MyEmployer Guarantee confirms to employers that any LCCC student who completes an applied degree program will have the skills necessary to successfully perform a job during the three years immediately following the awarding of the degree. If a graduate who is employed is found to have skill gaps related to the competencies of focus for that applied degree, they will be provided up to 15 credit hours of coursework tuition-free to remediate the deficiency. “Lorain County Community College is committed to engaging employers to better anticipate their emerging talent needs while ensuring that its graduates have mastered the skills and knowledge necessary to meet those expectations,” said LCCC President Roy Church. “We are confident that our students are prepared and this guarantee tells them and their employers that we stand behind our graduates.”


Leanne Taylor, of Elyria, landed a full-time job at LaserCraft, Inc. in North Ridgeville after she graduated from LCCC with an Associate of Applied Science degree in manufacturing engineering technology and a degree in CNC machining. “MyEmployer helps us get the right talent in the right place to meet our needs,” said Dale Hawkinson, quality manager at LaserCraft. “As an LCCC grad, Leanne stood out because she came with practical experience.”



ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business

LCCC President Roy A. Church, right, poses with (left to right), Leanne Taylor, Dale Hawkinson, Cheryl Giardini and LCCC District Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Goodman

The MyEmployer Guarantee also provides up to 10 hours of free talent planning, assessment, and recruitment, as well as advancement services to employers that pledge to partner with LCCC’s Entrepreneurship Innovation Institute as their talent planning resource provider. The MyEmployer Guarantee is the third phase of LCCC’s “Our Promise” initiative, introduced in March of this year. The first phase is a tuition guarantee that locks in tuition and fee rates at the current level for students registering in fall of 2014 and spring of 2015 for up to three years or until the completion of their degree, whichever comes first. The MyUniversity Guarantee is the second phase of the initiative. It has the potential to significantly increase the number of high school students in Lorain County and the surrounding area who can earn free college credit in their high school. MyUniversity enables high school students to even go as far as earning an associate degree simultaneously with their high school diploma. Students can then continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree by as early as age 20 through LCCC’s University Partnership program. In doing so, students can save more than 80 percent of the cost of a bachelor’s degree by taking advantage of MyUniversity, essentially saving families tens of thousands of dollars in college debt. For more information about the “Our Promise” initiative, visit:

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business | Volume 2 Issue 4

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ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business

ABLE PROGRAM: A CRITICAL COG IN NORTHWEST OHIO’S ECONOMIC ENGINE Terms such as “skills gap,” “workforce pipeline,” and “employability” may not sound like much, but they represent key factors that can make the difference between a stalling regional economy and a thriving one. In Allen County, Ohio, the Lima City Schools Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) program has been actively partnering with groups such as the Allen Economic Development Group (AEDG) and the Lima Allen County Chamber of Commerce to help reshape the local workforce and keep the regional economic engine humming.


When business owners are looking to build or expand, they increasingly rely on workforce data to help guide the process of choosing an ideal location. “Site selectors and current business and industry are focused on workforce data more than ever to make decisions on expansion,” said Eric Davis, the coordinator of Strategic Workforce Development at AEDG. “Having a strong workforce is not only paramount to job growth, but also to the retention of current business and industry.” AEDG talks with local businesses and industries to monitor workforce needs in northwest Ohio. The data it gathers is shared not only with statewide economic development organizations such as Ohio Means Jobs, but also local groups such as the Lima ABLE program, which often work on a one-on-one, individual level. Using this information, ABLE can better inform and guide job-seekers toward careers with the most growth potential. “ABLE’s tie back into this process is critical,” said Davis, “especially their partnerships with Ohio Means Jobs-Allen County, our local career and technical centers, and community colleges.”


Lima ABLE is currently involved in two programs that are making a positive impact on the local workforce. The Basic Manufacturing Pathways (MP) program is administered through Rhodes State College, and primarily attracts “low-skill” students who already

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business | Volume 2 Issue 4

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have a high school diploma or GED. “Typically, the students are unemployed or have a history of unemployment, employment with temp agencies, or employment paying at, or slightly above minimum wage,” notes Doug Durliat, Director of the West Central Ohio Manufacturing Consortium. “They tend to lack workplace or soft skills.” Lima ABLE was one of the founding partners of the MP Program, helping to develop its curriculum and providing classroom instruction to more than 500 students since 2005. Eighty-five percent of the students were unemployed upon entering the program, and as of January 2014, 53% have found work with 29 different northwest Ohio manufacturing companies, including Ford, Honda, Grob, and Steel Technologies. Thirty-one students have gone on to pursue some kind of postsecondary education. In addition to the MP program, Lima ABLE was the first organization to team up with the Northwest Ohio Literacy Council’s new job training program, “10 Jobs You Can Get in Lima Without a College Degree.” The 10 jobs were identified by the AEDG as open but unfilled, due to the difficulty in finding local workers with the right skillset. The 10-week training program was specifically tailored to help lower socioeconomic adults fill these and other similar in-demand jobs. In addition to the coursework, each student creates a professional e-mail address, develops a resume, learns how to search for jobs online, takes part in a mock interview, works as a co-instructor for one class, and makes a presentation at the end of the program.


Through these and other partnerships, Lima ABLE continues to help bridge the gap between business leaders looking for trained workers and a workforce that needs additional training. While some ABLE students are comfortable applying for post-secondary education and re-entering the workforce independently, others have never filled out an online application. If they attended high school more than five years ago, their computer skills are likely outdated as well. Lima ABLE continues to help Ohio adults become more effective workers, parents, and citizens by teaching them about these and other types of basic skills, which are so essential in today’s competitive job market.



ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business


A LOOK AT THE KENT STATE UNIVERSITY BLACKSTONE LAUNCHPAD The entrepreneurial spirit has always been alive and well amongst college students. Drawing from their education and experience, many choose to create their own company or develop an idea that can be brought to the marketplace right after graduation. The Blackstone LaunchPad (BLP) at Kent State University (KSU) has a program that is helping students every step of the way. In 2011, KSU was one of four Ohio institutions to receive a grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The grant was to be used to expand BLP to the Kent State campus. The BLP program provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and supportive mentors they need to transform untested ideas into vital companies. The BLP’s mission is to maximize student success by fostering a campus-wide entrepreneurial mindset that promotes inter-disciplinary collaboration in innovation and the creation of new venture initiatives. Kent State’s BLP is located on the first floor of the Student Center. The central location grants easy access to students on campus. It is extremely beneficial for students to start businesses in the communities in where they attend college. Northeast Ohio, having been deeply impacted by the economic crisis, was seen as an ideal region for the BLP. In addition to Kent State, the three other Ohio schools with BLPs on campus are all located in this area: Lorain County Community College, Baldwin Wallace University, and Case Western Reserve University.

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business | Volume 2 Issue 4

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business

Photo courtesy: Kent State University


Associate Provost for Academic Affairs at KSU

Students get to take part in workshops, seminars, and networking events, which connect aspiring business owners with mentors, experts, and resources necessary to help them bring their ideas to market. “Blackstone LaunchPad at Kent State provides our students, faculty, staff, and alumni with the resources, consultation, connections, and knowledge to successfully achieve their entrepreneurial goals,” said Melody Tankersley, associate provost for academic affairs at KSU. “It’s so inspiring to attend the events and competitions that LaunchPad hosts to see the great ideas that our KSU community brings forward”. One of the events coming up is the Fashion/Tech Hackathon. This hackathon, or an event in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming, is focused on combining fashion, wearable technology and creating cool products and concepts within 24 hours. Student teams will have the opportunity to compete for various cash prize categories. For more information, please visit For a list of all of the upcoming BLP events, please visit:



ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Over the course of the past year, ConnectED has run articles about several students, covering topics such as internships and dream jobs, and focusing on their higher education experience. In this issue, we thought we’d give a “progress report” on what two of those students have been doing since the initial articles were published. In the summer of 2013, both Katherine Hunt and Christine Weaver agreed to talk about the role that co-ops have played in their career path. As students at the University of Cincinnati, both had access to the Co-op and Internship Program offered by the university in their pursuit of an engineering degree.

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business | Volume 2 Issue 4

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business

Katherine Hunt – Biomedical Engineering

After reviewing all that’s happened in the past year, Katherine provided some answers that connect her degree pathway to the real world. Today, as a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Katherine still appreciates her co-op experience and the knowledge she gained through hands-on learning. SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT ANY ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCES YOU’VE HAD SINCE SUMMER 2013 THAT YOU THINK HAVE BEEN VALUABLE. I completed my co-op at Cincinnati Sub-Zero and came away with a very good understanding of the needs of a medical device company. I also knew that Quality was an area that I enjoyed and would love to work in. In my final year at school, I completed a capstone project that let me walk a medical device through the whole design and development phase. Everything was very hands-on and we got to work with physicians and industry professionals. Being able to experience and walk through the whole process brought together everything we had learned in class and allowed us to bring in knowledge gained from our various co-ops. This thorough understanding of the entire process (although on a smaller scale than industry) gave me the ability to understand my role at my current company and how my contributions affect all other departments. WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE STUDENTS FOR BALANCING STUDIES WITH A CO-OP EXPERIENCE? I would advise them to take advantage of co-op experience as much as possible. Even if their chosen school does not have a built-in co-op program like the University of Cincinnati, use summer breaks to get some on-the-job experience. Even it is not the exact area you think you would like to pursue after school, the experience and knowledge you gain are invaluable. Solving problems in the real world is very different than classroom or capstone exercises, and you will soon realize that all companies face similar problems regardless of their industry. This exposure to problems and developing your problem solving skills is the true benefit of co-op. WHEN WE LAST SPOKE, YOU SAID YOU ENVISIONED YOURSELF DEVELOPING MEDICAL EQUIPMENT, WORKING WITH DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS TO MANAGE THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS. TELL US WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THEN TO ALTER OR BRING YOU CLOSER TO THOSE PLANS. My current position does not allow me to interact directly with doctors or design medical devices. However, I am still very much involved with medical devices and my company is growing, so I am still working toward that goal. ARE THERE ANY ORGANIZATIONS IN WHICH YOU HAVE BECOME INVOLVED SINCE GRADUATING THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO OTHERS? I am currently a member of the American Society for Quality. I have been to one conference for its Inspection Division and would highly recommend the organization to anyone in industry. It is not specific to any type of company and covers all aspects of quality in business. WHAT HAS BEEN MOST CHALLENGING AS A RECENT GRADUATE IN TERMS OF CONNECTING TO THE WORKFORCE? Right now I am still on the learning curve. My current company molds plastic and prior to this, I had no experience with manufacturing plastic components. I am still working on understanding the industry and all of the acronyms and terms.



Christine Weaver – Aerospace Engineering

Although extremely busy with studying and continuing to pursue her major, Christine still took the time to reflect on the last year, and what the co-op experience meant for her education. SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT ANY ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCE YOU’VE HAD SINCE SUMMER 2013 THAT YOU THINK WILL BE VALUABLE ONCE YOU GRADUATE. Since summer of 2013, I have had the opportunity to work in two other teams within UTC Aerospace. I got to be in the brake control systems group, where I worked on developing new technology, and I got to be on a project engineering team, where I worked on new programs. I was able to see many sides of the industry and all of the stages that a product goes through. WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE STUDENTS FOR BALANCING STUDIES WITH A CO-OP EXPERIENCE? Always keep a schedule! Time management is key in life. In your schedule, you can add as much or as little as you want, but make sure to capture the basics so that you can plan your weeks accordingly. Also, when you are doing something fun, find a way to leave your stresses from school and work behind. WHEN WE LAST SPOKE, YOU SAID YOU ENVISIONED YOURSELF BEING IN FLORIDA IN FIVE YEARS, WORKING WITH UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS. TELL US WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THEN TO ALTER OR BRING YOU CLOSER TO THOSE PLANS. I am currently looking for full-time opportunities. While searching, I have used key words that fit my wants and I plan on applying to as many defense companies as possible. As for Florida, I may or may not end up there, but I do still want to move somewhere warm or by a beach. That is just something I have wanted since I was little. ARE THERE ANY ORGANIZATIONS WITH WHICH YOU HAVE BECOME INVOLVED ON CAMPUS THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO AN INCOMING FRESHMAN? There are many things that I am involved with on campus. My three favorites are all very different from each other – the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Chi Omega, and the UC Skydiving Club. These three are my favorite because one is for my major, one is to get me connected to others on campus, and one is just for me to enjoy. I believe those three conditions are best for all college students. If an incoming freshman were to pick three clubs with those three criteria, then they would have an amazing college experience.

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business | Volume 2 Issue 4

ConnectED: Connecting Higher Education to Business

A special thank you to all of those who contributed to the stories in this edition: Collaboration for the Workforce Mary Beth Busch Dr. Gregory Timberlake North Central State Community College

North Central State Community College

LCCC’s MyEmployer Guarantee Program Ensures Employers Get Quality Workers Kim Carrasquillo Lorain County Community College

ABLE Program: A Critical Cog in Northwest Ohio’s Economic Engine Laura Ball Ken Blanchard Eric Davis Lima City Schools ABLE

Ohio Literacy Council

Allen Economic Development Group

Doug Durliat

Nikia Fletcher

Jeff Gove

Rhodes State College

Ohio Board of Regents

Ohio Board of Regents

Becky Hirn Ohio Literacy Council/Lima City Schools ABLE

Bringing Ideas to Life Julie Messing Melody Tankersley, PhD Kent State University

Kent State University

Where are they now? Christine Weaver

Katherine Hunt

University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati

Margie Rolf

University of Cincinnati

Thank you for reading ConnectED. We appreciate any suggestions or ideas to improve this newsletter. We welcome story ideas, links to articles of interest, and news releases. Please send story ideas to Jeff Robinson at


Profile for OhioHigherEd

ConnectED - Fall 2014  

This is a quarterly e-newsletter designed to connect Ohio higher education to the business community. In this publication, you will learn ab...

ConnectED - Fall 2014  

This is a quarterly e-newsletter designed to connect Ohio higher education to the business community. In this publication, you will learn ab...