Research and Impact

OHIO’s top-ranked public administration programs build on the Voinovich School’s public service legacy and mission

From his office on The Ridges in Athens, Ohio, Associate Dean for Public Strategy and Innovation and MPA Director, Professor Jason Jolley types an email to share good news about another grant that the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service has secured to assist the Appalachian Ohio region. This time, it’s a $3 million project awarded to The Ohio State University and its educational partners in the Appalachian region, including Ohio University, to identify training needs for the broadband workforce. 

“Ohio University’s piece of the grant will be about $50,000, but it will allow us to work across Appalachian Ohio and the state to identify skill upgrades for displaced workers,” Jolley said. “Our hope is that they’ll be able to more easily transition to employment in the emerging broadband and 5G industries.” 

The grant, one of a handful of projects Jolley is currently leading, is on the smaller side of the kinds of grants that the Voinovich School typically receives. 

“We’re finalizing a $2 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) project this month to assist Southern Ohio with transition away from the coal economy, and we’re also engaged in a $2.7 million project also funded by EDA to work on coal economy transition issues in eastern and southeastern Ohio,” he said. “The Voinovich School is central to assisting our region in creating more sustainable local economies.”

Since July 2016, the Voinovich School’s engaged faculty and professional staff have secured more than 900 grants and contracts totaling nearly $62 million.  The projects address some of the world’s greatest challenges ranging from economic development and entrepreneurship to environmental and watershed issues to substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion. 

This diversity of projects is reflected in the school being chosen to lead a new Ohio Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Prevention and Promotion, a $4.5 million investment from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The effort will be one of more than 150 projects that the Voinovich School averages each year. 

“Our school is nationally known for our impact, public service, outreach, professional education and leadership development – and we’re a model college that acts as a public-private partnership that is helping craft and implement programmatic initiatives that have a significant impact,” said Mark Weinberg, dean of the Voinovich School. “We play a critical role in Ohio University’s commitment to and partnership with the communities where we live and work.”

Weinberg, who recently presented a unique partnership with other colleges and external partners to Ohio University’s Board of Trustees, also noted several projects that he’s looking forward to in the year ahead. 

“We’re excited to advance several initiatives including an expansion of the Building Bridges to Careers program, and our partnership with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Council, which brings more than 70 counties, cities, villages, townships, and regional organizations together in Central Ohio, at our Dublin Campus.” 

To hear more from Dean Weinberg during his New Year address or learn more about the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, visit

January 25, 2022
Staff reports