National Center for Urban Solutions Receives Additional IMAP Funding

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The National Center for Urban Solutions Inc., which has a training program in Youngstown, is among 12 training providers throughout Ohio that will receive funding through the Individual Microcredential Assistance Programs.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted’s office announced Tuesday the 12 training providers would split a total of $2.58 million in awards to assist training programs geared toward helping low-income, partially unemployed or totally unemployed individuals earn a technology-focused credential.

The National Center for Urban Solutions received the maximum $250,000 as its share.

The selected training providers are reimbursed up to $3,000 per earned technology-focused credential, while providing the training at no cost to the individual.

“We continue to see a growing number of Ohioans find rewarding careers as a result of earning new tech skills through IMAP,” Husted said. “In many cases credentials, rather than degrees, are what employers are looking for when making hiring decisions. Credentials are the currency of the modern economy.”

IMAP credentials are offered both in person and online, making it possible to learn from anywhere.
There are a variety of career paths to choose from as well.

One of the programs using the IMAP training is the National Center for Urban Solutions, both in Youngstown and the Columbus areas. Perry Gregory, senior vice president at NCUS, talked about the difference the program is making, upskilling minorities and other underserved people in both urban and rural areas.

“I like it because it requires us to produce a result. So we don’t get paid until someone completes the training,” Gregory said, adding that encourages them. NCUS met the goal of training 100 people in 2022 halfway through the year. “It all leads to individuals being placed in the industry.”

Gregory said flexibility in enrollment also removes some of the barriers. Those enrolling in the program get the training for free. The program makes it easier to leverage partnerships and refer people for training and jobs in the community.

“Credentials offered through IMAP can put Ohioans on the path to a better quality of life,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “This training positions people for good-paying jobs in high-demand fields.”

NCUS is using the IMAP reimbursement program to provide technical training certifications, such as in the operation of FANUC robotics.

“One of our most popular programs through IMAP has been our advanced robotics program, Gregory said. “We’ve had over 100, particularly African Americans, youth and adults participate in the program and successfully complete it. We have like a 95% passage rate on that program.”

Additionally, NCUS offers AWS Cloud Computing, Microsoft Office programs for those in general business and a desktop support technician program.

Aside from NCUS, those involved in this latest round of funding are Ashland University; Buckeye Hills Career Center; Global Lynx Inc.; Goodwill Industries of Central Ohio Inc.; Hocking College; Miami Valley Career Technology Center; My Career IT LLC; Ohio Valley Construction Education Foundation; Pickaway-Ross County JVSD; Washington County Career Center; and We Can Code It LLC.

Those interested in learning about more than 110 microcredentials available statewide through the program can learn more here.

The Youngstown State University Division of Workforce Education and Innovation also offers the training locally through both the Excellence Training Center and the online Skills Accelerator. YSU was a part of the second round of 14 training providers that were slated to receive a portion of $2.93 million awarded through IMAP in January 2022, as was the NCUS.

Pictured at top: Wasilwa Mwonyonyi, workforce manager at National Center for Urban Solutions.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.