EGCC, America Makes Join for Workforce Training Program

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – America Makes and Eastern Gateway Community College will launch a joint regional workforce education and training initiative targeting students in grades 5 though 12, low-income and minority populations, and displaced workers.

Elected officials and other community leaders joined America Makes and Eastern Gateway representatives Friday to announce the initiative, which is being funded by $3.5 million allocated from the 2022-2023 Ohio biennial operating budget.

The funds are for America Makes to develop an additive manufacturing curriculum, based out of Eastern Gateway, for the targeted populations, said Andrew Resnick, America Makes’ director of communications and public affairs.

“Our mission at America Makes is to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing at the national level, but we also have a local and regional impact,” he said. “One of the ways we accelerate that technology is through education and workforce development.”

The money will be used to fund outreach initiatives and pay for credit and non-credit training, said Josh Cramer, director of education and workforce development.

“We want to create interest and awareness. That’s the first step,” he said. “Then we want to create the way to onboard them onto these programs.”

Initiatives such as the precollege program and no-cost textbooks and course materials at Eastern Gateway demonstrate that when barriers to the “degrees and certificates learners need to be successful in the workplace” are removed those learners succeed, said Eastern Gateway President Michael Geoghegan.

“When we relieve these concerns, we can create tremendous opportunities for learners who never thought anyone would give them a chance,” he added.

The initiative comes at a time when the Youngstown City Schools system is “transitioning from creating scholars who are college-ready” to preparing them for the workforce as well, district CEO Justin Jennings said. For a long time, schools, especially urban schools, were “trying to create college-ready robots,” he said.

“We haven’t done a good job of exposing our kids to those different careers,” he said.

“The workforce in Youngstown is pivoting into a whole different world. We have to keep moving and progressing, whether it’s the Voltage Valley or additive manufacturing,” state Sen. Michael Rulli, R-33 Salem, said. Funding for the program was his “No. 1 request” and he gave Senate President Matt Huffman “100% credit” for its inclusion in the biennial budget.

“Our entire state delegation came together for funding for this collaboration,” said Guy Coviello, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. Coviello was pleased to see Ohio recognize the “competitive advantage” that manufacturing represents not only for the Mahoning Valley but also for the entire state, he added.

America Makes and Eastern Gateway will put together a steering committee that includes community organizations that serve the underserved or underutilized talent, as well as industry members, Cramer said.

Outreach efforts should get underway within the next six months. They will be leveraged with other regional programs – including General Motors’ reinvestment initiative with the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and Additive Edge, an entrepreneurial-focuses program to build awareness of additive manufacturing – for “maximum impact,” he said.

“We’re going to hit the ground pretty quick with the outreach initiatives,” he remarked.

Pictured: Michael Geoghegan, Eastern Gateway Community College president, addressed those gathered Friday, and was joined by state Sen. Michael Rulli, Andrew Resnick of America Makes, Guy Coviello of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and state Sen. Sandra O’Brien.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.