The Point to get $1M for college programs

SOUTH POINT, Ohio – The current Ohio Senate version of the two-year budget proposal starting July 1 includes $1 million to develop college technical programs at The Point, a South Point industrial park.

The budget bill, which includes $500,000 per year for the next two years for the job training program, still has to be agreed to by the state legislature and signed by Gov. John Kasich by June 30.

State Sen. Bob Peterson said the Senate bill includes money to pay for an economic development initiative that will bring new employment opportunities at the industrial park.

“This is a collaborative initiative through Ohio University Southern in Ironton to establish a Higher Education Regional Partnership and Training Center at The Point to bring necessary technical degree and training programs to Lawrence County and the surrounding region,” Peterson said.

The training center is a partnership between Ohio University Southern, Shawnee State University, University of Rio Grande, Southern State Community College (in Hillsboro) the Ohio Strategic Training Center which already has a welder training program in South Point and the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, Peterson said.

“Ohio University Southern is committed to providing needed higher education programs to Southeast Ohio and the surrounding region,” said Nicole Pennington, dean of the Southern campus. “We see this partnership initiative as a means to bring technical degree programs to the region so that workforce needs are met.”

The budget bill passed by the state Senate contains a $500,000 appropriation in each fiscal year to help fund the Higher Education Regional partnership, Pennington said.

The colleges in the partnership offer some fantastic technical programs that can be brought to South Point, said Bill Dingus, executive director of the economic development corporation which is overseeing development at The Point.

“The partnership brings all the players together,” Dingus said. “Ohio University Southern is in the lead.”

The courses could lead to two-year technical degrees at the colleges involved in the partnership, said Scott Howard, director of the training center established last year to offer welding classes through Lorain County Community College.

“There are technical jobs going unfilled,” Dingus said. “We see this as a chance to offer technical programs to kids who aren’t interested in a four-year degree.”

The course would be offered at a building in the industrial park that would be refurbished to offer the technical courses, Dingus said.

If it is funded, details for the program will be worked out in the coming weeks and months, he said.

The programs to be offered would focus on three areas, Howard said. They are manufacturing, logistics and health care.

There’s a chance the training programs could be offered starting later this year, Howard said.

From Herald Dispatch  |  June 25, 2015