OHIO Lancaster announces opening of Fairfield County Workforce Center with ribbon cutting
The Fairfield County Workforce Center officially opened its doors Sept. 22 with an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony, garnering attendance from state and local leaders and essential business partners.
Jarrod Tudor, dean of campus and community relations at Ohio University Lancaster, believes the Fairfield County Workforce Center can be a model for every other county pursuing workforce and economic development.
“We’re interested in this, because we know starting college right out of high school is not necessarily for everybody,” Tudor said. “Through this partnership we may also be able to attract students that aren’t thinking about going to college right out of high school.”
The Fairfield County Workforce Center, located at 4665 Coonpath Road, offers training programs for high-demand industries including manufacturing, skilled trades, and health care. The Center is a collaborative partnership between the Fairfield County Commissioners, Ohio University Lancaster, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and Hocking College. The partnership focuses on economic development through training and workforce development.
“This might be one way that we can attract people into our workforce right away,” Tudor added. “And maybe you don’t get that four-year degree right away. Maybe it takes five years. Maybe it takes six years. But you’ve got a firm that’s supporting you, you’ve got six years of work experience, a degree from Hocking College, a degree from Ohio University Lancaster, and a heck of a resume. That might be a great way of getting people interested in manufacturing, health care, et cetera.”
The state of Ohio provided $1.25 million to help repurpose the building that was previously used by the Fairfield County Board of Development Disabilities.
Commissioner Jeff Fix said that Pickerington Local School District has begun sending many students to the center and encouraged other school districts to do the same.
“We need partnerships with the state government, our city of Lancaster, the city of Pickerington, and the county government,” Fix said. “We’re all here to solve a problem of making sure there is a workforce for these companies that come here. Lancaster is doing a great job recently of bringing new business here, and that’s awesome. That’s only going to last as long as we can continue to provide the new employers with a trained workforce.”
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Matt Damschroder said a recent study of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies showed that 94% of apprentice interns remained employed after completing their program.
“We’re going to make a long-term commitment to workforce development in our community for economic development purposes,” Damschroder said. “While you’re investing here in these kinds of programs, we’re investing in the state and retooling things such as the Ohio Means Jobs website to make all of those different pieces come together for employers and respective employees to really make sure that Ohio is a place where they can grow their businesses.”
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees were given a tour of the building. Mike Ulmer, director of workforce development and credentials at Ohio University, discussed opportunities through the engineering technology program offered at the center. Ulmer also led guests through the robotics room where new equipment was displayed.
The engineering technology program prepares students to become electrical technicians, programmable logic controllers technicians, and computer numerical control (CNC) and quality technicians.
Visit the center’s website to learn more about programming offered at the Fairfield County Workforce Center. To learn more about Ohio University Lancaster’s engineering technology program, visit the engineering technology program page.