Clark State Community College has received official approval from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) for its first applied baccalaureate degree. The four-year degree in Manufacturing Technology Management will be available to students beginning in the fall semester of 2019 pending final approval by the Higher Learning Commission.
“It’s an opportunity to provide higher education for an industry that is so important to our region’s economic health,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “Additionally, incumbent workers can now have access to a bachelor’s degree that brings with it opportunities for advancement and higher level skill development. It’s a win-win for the employees and employers.”
Blondin said an applied baccalaureate degree in Manufacturing Technology Management from Clark State will prepare incumbent workers in the manufacturing industry or those interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing to acquire both technical and supervisory skills that will result in a well-paying job in the region.
The initial request to the ODHE for the four-year degree was deferred earlier this year.
“Clark State is appreciative of the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s further review and analysis of our proposed program,” said Blondin. “The additional time strengthened our application to ODHE. I am grateful for the hard work and leadership of Aimee Belanger-Haas and Clark State faculty to bring this to fruition. Clark State continues to hear from our regional industry partners about their interest in this program and how they hope this program is available to train their workers.”
In 2014, Clark State received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program totaling almost $2.5 million to work with local manufacturers.
The success of the TAACCCT grant and the increased engagement with local employers has been the foundation for establishing the applied bachelor’s degree program. Clark State has over 30 companies actively engaged in advisory meetings and ad hoc meetings pertaining to the applied bachelor’s degree, company tours/visits with students, companies visiting classes to discuss employment opportunities.
Clark State applied to the ODHE for approval of the applied baccalaureate degree with support from local industry partners including: Bundy Baking Solutions, Cascade Engineering, Champion GSE, Hall Company, Heroux Devtek, Honda of America, Konecranes, McGregor Metalworks, MEVA Formworks, SEEPEX, SelectTech, Sweet Manufacturing, Tech II, TJAR Innovations, UTC, Valco Industries, Yamada North America, The Chamber of Greater Springfield, Champion Economic Partnership, Dayton Regional Manufacturers Association, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center and many others.
“Cascade Corporation has supported Clark State in this endeavor since the launch, and eagerly awaits graduates who have the technical skills that manufacturing organizations seek,” said Darlene Carpenter, human resources manager of the Cascade Corporation. “I, along with other engineering and technical professionals in the area, have dedicated our time, knowledge and expertise to developing the curriculum and providing whatever resources are needed. We are confident that this is the solution to the technical skills gap in our community.”
Clark State increased from training fewer than 20 students annually in 2013 to training 386 students in 2017. The degree in Manufacturing Technology Management complements Clark State’s existing certificates and associate degrees and will be the first four-year degree offered by Clark State. The College may add additional applied bachelor’s degree options in the future, as deemed needed and viable by the local community and industries.
“Clark State is blessed to work with employers and community partners that share our passion for lifelong learning,” said Aimee Belanger-Haas, dean of business and applied technologies for Clark State. “We look forward to the continued relationship as we develop the program.”