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Columbus State Community College Launches Office For Workforce Training

Columbus State Community College

Columbus State Community College has opened a new office meant to connect businesses with employees through a set of new training programs.

The new Office of Talent Strategy will help tailor workforce training programs for employers in the region. Columbus State president David Harrison says the idea is not just to prepare future workers for jobs, but helping current workers re-skill.

“Job disruption is something that we’re spending a lot of time talking about and thinking about," Harrison says, "and there are people in our community right now that are in good jobs, but they’re in good jobs that are going to go away.”

Harrison describes the office as a kind of translator, helping employers benefit from the school’s experience with previous programs. He offers Nationwide Insurance as an example, describing how Columbus State helped develop a program for their current workers.

“We worked with them to put together certificate programs in cyber software development, data analytics with a cloud underpinning that’s helping them transition their current employees into a 21st century skillset,” Harrison says.

The new office will start by focusing on training in three areas: data analytics, cloud computing and cyber security. It’s part of a workforce partnership initiative announced last year and backed by The Business Roundtable.

Pat Tiberi, president and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable, says this can bridge the divide between workers and jobs.

"If we don't figure out how to create a pipeline, and these are really good jobs by the way, these are jobs that pay $70,000, $75,000, $80,000 a year," Tiberi says. "If we don't figure out a way to fill these jobs many of these employers are going to go to where the talent is."

He adds that the consistent message coming out of the discussion about workforce development is that college graduates have a hard time finding work and companies have a hard time filling open positions.

"So you get this mismatch of what is being produced and what employers need and this is part of that process of trying to match it so we can grow our economy here in Ohio," Tiberi says.

Curriculum for the Office of Talent Strategy has already been developed, and about 400 students are currently enrolled.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.