Owens Community College, along with five other community colleges and BioOhio, will receive a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration to implement the Ohio Bioscience Industry Workforce Preparedness project.
The three-year project will provide training to 660 displaced or underemployed workers in declining industries to help them become better equipped for careers in Ohio’s growing biomedical industry. In addition, 40 incumbent workers will receive advanced training to be able to move into higher-level jobs, creating new entry-level job opportunities for unemployed adults.
Other partners in the statewide project consortium include Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Columbus State Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, Lakeland Community College and Sinclair Community College, with strong support from the Ohio Board of Regents. CAEL (The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning), a national non-profit organization focused on workforce development and adult learning, will serve a technical assistance role.
Project activity will focus on the Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo regions. In each region, consortium colleges will serve as the regional project leaders, heading up a team of employers, workforce agencies, labor groups and community partners.
Each regional team, with guidance from BioOhio, will refine recruitment, assessment, support, placement and retention strategies to ensure trainee success. Most of the training within the project will provide participants with an industry-recognized credential. Participants who enroll in training activities that do not result in a credential will receive course credits.
Eleven biomedical employers have formally committed to partner in the project, with more possible in the coming months. These employers will play a critical role in helping develop industry career pathways and ensuring that the knowledge and skills needed to perform successfully in their industry are adequately addressed. They also have pledged to consider qualified applicants who complete project training programs for openings in their organizations.
“Ohio is becoming the ideal location for getting biomedical products to market,” said BioOhio Senior Director of Workforce Bill Tacon. “Workers completing this training will directly contribute to Ohio’s strengths, especially in manufacturing and testing.”
BioOhio (formerly Omeris) is a non-profit organization supported by the Thomas Edison Program of the Ohio Department of Development. Its mission is to accelerate bioscience discovery, innovation and commercialization of global value, driving economic growth in Ohio. It is headquartered in Columbus, with regional business development affiliates in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Athens.