TechCred Prepares Workers for Technology Jobs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A new state program will help prepare current and future employees for the technology jobs that Ohio employers need to fill.

On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted discussed the new TechCred program while touring Kiraly Tool and Die Inc. at 1250 Crescent St. He said that no matter the industry, technology impacts our future business and work.

“The future of work is to upskill our workforce in all jobs for the future tech-infused economy,” Husted said. “Ohio is creating jobs at a faster pace than we have skilled employees to fill them.”

TechCred aims to train Ohioans in new skills while helping employers build a stronger workforce in a technology-infused economy, he said. Through the program, employers are reimbursed up to $2,000 per eligible technology-focused credential in up to 20,000 short-term industry recognized credentials over the next two years. Companies of any size in any industry are encouraged to apply for TechCred. Employers can earn up to $30,000 per funding round.

Husted toured Kiraly Tool and Die as part of a statewide kickoff for the program. The administration hopes TechCred will provide employers with a skilled labor force for the future by spurring technology-focused credentials that take a year or less to achieve, he said.

“This will only help create a stronger workforce and TechCred will allow companies like us to prove to the rest of the state where we can make advancements, and in the future make a better company and a better workforce,” said Kyle Kiraly, controller at the tool and die company that produces custom fabrication and machine work.

Programs like TechCred help small businesses grow and stay up-to-date with industry standards, Kiraly said. His father, Steven, owns the company that employs 22, up from 12 when it was founded in 1999.

TechCred is aimed at younger workers, as well as those who are underskilled or looking to advance in an industry.

“This will open new doors in upskilling the existing workforce in advanced manufacturing and technology,” Kiraly said. “We’re thankful for the administration for choosing us and for providing the opportunity to open our doors to upskill employees and to keep up with the times.”

Jon Moore, and employee at Kiraly, said he would be interested in the program. Husted spoke with Moore during the tour, watching and asking questions of the Champion resident who has worked at Kiraly for three years. After Moore graduated high school, he works in construction with his father until the economy plunged around 2008.

After earning a two-year associate’s degree from the New Castle School of Trades, Moore worked at a number of shops in the area and received training on the job. He learned programming and specialty skills for the machine he currently operates at Kiraly since it was installed. While he has more than 12 years of experience, Moore has never received credentials, he said.

“I figured I have this experience and I’m doing it so I don’t really need a piece of paper,” he said. “I’ve talked with the company about possibly training and I’d be interested in talking to them about a program like this.”

While there is an upfront cost for employers, employees also must make a commitment by working 40-hour weeks while attending 10 to 15 hours of training a week to earn an industry-related credential.

“The company is bearing the cost, but we’re investing in your future to hopefully retain you as a higher skilled employee to fulfill some niche or void we have to really grow all of our wages,” Kiraly said.

The company already participates in apprenticeship programs through a grant with the Mahoning Valley Manufacturing Coalition, of which Kiraly has been a founding partner in the coalition since 2011. The company currently has an apprentice who is nearing the end of his testing for credentialing.

MVMC offers a $3,000 reimbursement for the apprenticeship. Starting wages are $12 to $15 and hour and workers can be bumped to $22 to $25 after four to five years of training. Kiraly said the TechCred program is just another way for small businesses to invest in a skilled workforce.

Employers make the applications for TechCred to the state, but Husted encourages employees who are interested in building their technology skills to inquire about the program with their companies.

According to the state, applications will be reviewed competitively and are based on pledged wage increases in relation to credential cost, level of economic distress in employees’ region and regional balance of awards, and the amount of employer contribution toward the cost of the credential.

Employers must select which credential their employee is pursuing and can request any unlisted credentials to be added to the eligible list by submitting an application for the TechCred program. Credentials will be reviewed by a panel of stakeholders.

To be eligible, credentials must be industry recognized, technology focused and must be able to be completed in less than one year or 30 credit hours.

Credentials have been approved in health care and technology, information technology, manufacturing and construction, military applications and robotics/automation. To learn more, visit TechCred.ohio.gov.

Pictured: Kiraly Tool and Die controller Kyle Kiraly talks with Lt. Gov. Jon Husted during a tour Tuesday.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.