When completed, possibly at the end of 2019, the Training Village located on Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus will feature a number of residential buildings, a bank, retail stores and other commercial spaces.
Phase I of the Training Village opened in 2016 and includes classrooms and military and fitness-style obstacle courses, as well as other features. Phase II of the Training Village in Parma focuses on scenario-based training for police, fire and emergency responders. There are some things that just can’t be learned from a book or computer screen, and learning to react in the safest and most effective way in an emergency situation is one of them.
Training Village will be utilized in Tri-C’s Public Safety program, part of the college’s Workforce Community and Economic Development Division. The division partners with business and industry, government organizations and the community to provide credit and fast-track training for a variety of skilled occupations. Other workforce programs include: Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering; Cisco Technical Training Institute; FirstEnergy Power Systems Institute; Health Care Training; and Job Preparation and Placement. Also, State of Ohio Motorcycle Program; Steelworkers for the Future; Truck Driving Academy; and Welding.
According to William Gary, Tri-C’s executive vice president of workforce, community and economic development, the increasing need for highly skilled workers is a critical problem. And while many Northeast Ohioans recognize Tri-C as a convenient and outstanding education institution where associate degrees may be earned, fewer residents realize the school’s extensive workforce development opportunities.
“Working with the business community, we market these programs with the skills workers need to obtain positions where the jobs are,” says Gary. “We work with the state to figure out where there is salary growth and overall potential growth in an industry. A sustainable living income for a family of four is $54,000, considerably more than the $35,000 or less many people are making here.”
Skilled workers are also important to an area’s economic stability and growth, according to Gary. If Northeast Ohio doesn’t have the workforce employers want, they pack their bags or never move here in the first place.
Tri-C’s workforce development program has positioned the college as a leader in the number and variety of educational opportunities. The school’s reputation for helping solve the workforce gap is growing. Jason Scales, business manager for education, Lincoln Electric, says that status is not just local, but also recognized by national community college organizations for its success.
Lincoln Electric is connected to Tri-C’s program through the workforce development welding certification program, and also supplies its own instructors for evening college classes.
“When Tri-C wanted to begin a robotics welding class, we helped them establish that as well,” says Scales. “Lincoln Electric is proud to work with them.”
Oatey Co., a plumbing parts manufacturer and supplier founded in 1916, has also partnered with the college.
“Tri-C worked with us to create customized curriculum and instruction formats that are tailored to our unique technical requirements,” says Maureen Pansky, senior manager, facility human resources for the Oatey Co. Cleveland Manufacturing Plant. “Tri-C offered insights on our team’s readiness to learn content and academic intervention.
“Tri-C is constantly seeking input from industry regarding current and anticipated workforce training needs. Oatey participates in different advisory committees, along with other manufacturing companies. These meetings are on-going opportunities to share industry success stories,” according to Pansky.
Tri-C offers workforce courses for present employees who need to upgrade or learn new skills, unemployed or under-employed individuals wishing to find change or improve their job status and employees re-entering the workforce.
“We do a lot of community enrichment for seniors and other folks who want to improve work skills and their self-interests,” says Gary. “As the population ages, the re-tooling of skills will become even more important.”
Many of Tri-C’s workforce programs are held at the Metropolitan Campus, with others offered on both east and west sides. A mobile training unit, introduced in 2017, is also a huge convenience for both students and employers, some of which may find on-campus training difficult due to time and/or financial reasons.
“If you can’t come to us, we’ll go to you,” says Gary, who has been with Tri-C since 2014 and gets much of the credit for the college’s workforce restructuring and increasing notoriety. Gary also praises Tri-C President Alex Johnson for the importance of “integrating the college into the community” and understanding the value of workforce programs to the individual and region.