Northwest State Receives $5M Grant from the US Dept. of Labor
Money to be used for Workforce Development Training
ARCHBOLD, OHIO –Northwest State Community College has received a $5 million grant from the United States Department of Labor to be used for workforce development training. The grant, awarded through the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant Competition, will fund education, training and job placement assistance for the long-term unemployed. Northwest State will lead the grant in partnership with WSOS Community Action, the Center for Innovative Food Technology and Ruralogic.
“By providing training, education and skills for employment, we are making a big investment in northwest Ohio’s workforce. These are tools that will give the long-term unemployed more career options and better earning potential, which will help strengthen the local economy,” said Melissa Rupp, director of grant development and administration at NSCC. “While the main goal of this grant is employment, students who complete the program will have twenty-two credit hours that can be applied toward an associate degree if they want to continue their education.”
The purpose of the grant is to train the long-term unemployed with skills needed for job openings in information technology fields, such as database programming. The program that will provide the training is called iSTAR, or Innovative Strategic Training Achieving Results.
WSOS Community Action will help identify long-term unemployed, from the northwest Ohio region, who are good candidates for iSTAR. In addition to funding tuition, equipment and on-the-job training, the grant provides money for non-academic support systems like career coaching. WSOS Community Action will manage that portion of the grant, helping students overcome barriers and complete the program successfully.
Once prospective students have been identified, Northwest State will assess them, ensuring their skills and aptitudes align with the focus of the program. The iSTAR program begins with a 16-week training course, developed by Todd Hernandez, database application training coordinator at NSCC.
“Todd was integral in identifying industry-recognized credentials and certifications that students will earn throughout the course,” said Rupp. “As a result, students will meet industry standards as soon as they complete the training.”
After students complete the 16-week course, they will be placed on a training contract with a local employer. Students will receive eighteen weeks of on-the-job training, with the goal of continued employment. The Center for Innovative Food Technology will assist in placements for the food industry, and some students will be placed with Ruralogic. Northwest State will be seeking other local businesses for placement partnerships.
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded forty-three grants in twenty-eight states. The grants are funded through fees from the H-1B program, which requires employers to pay for authorization before bringing foreign workers into the United States. These grants are intended to raise the technical skill levels of American workers and help businesses reduce the need for foreign workers.