By Kristin Bednarski
University of Cincinnati Clermont College received a $250,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission Sept. 28 that will be used to help train students in the manufacturing program.
“We are so grateful for this $250,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission,” UC Clermont Dean Gregory Sojka said during the presentation.
The college provided a $250,000 match for the grant, and Sojka said they will use the funds for additional equipment in the Manufacturing Technology Center at the UC East campus, located at the former Ford plant.
Earl Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, said UC Clermont submitted a proposal for the funds and described how they would use the money to help improve their facility and train more students for manufacturing jobs.
Gohl said the college submitted a strong proposal and it made its way to the top of the pile quickly.
“This is great we are able to do this today,” Gohl said about presenting the check.
Gohl said he has hosted a number of round table discussions regarding the manufacturing industry and has discovered a common theme.
“Employers were looking for workers they couldn’t find,” Gohl said. “That shows how critical it is to get ahead of the curve.”
Gohl, who was able to tour the UC East facility, said there is a lot of potential for the college to train students for specific manufacturing jobs, which he said will create an economy that was built to last.
“This is a project where we are taking federal funds and investing in local schools working with local companies,” he said.
Dexter Hulse, associate professor of the computer aided design program and the manufacturing technology program, said for him, receiving additional funding is helping his dream of having a manufacturing training center at the college come true.
“We started planning years ago,” Hulse said about creating a space for manufacturing students.
Hulse shared his goals and even the drawings he created years ago that highlighted what a manufacturing facility and program could look like.
“Here we go, it is happening,” Hulse said.
Hulse said several local manufacturing companies that are looking for trained employees have supported the program.
He said having a functional training center for students will help provide those companies with workers and helping students find really good employment.
“It’s a wonderful thing going on here,” Hulse said.