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Owens Community College Unveils New High-Tech Equipment and Training Program
Owens Community College's Workforce and Community Services Division and the Wood County Workforce Policy Board unveiled more than $1.18 million in state-of-the-art electrical, mechanical and electronic equipment and recruitment resources as the College recently dedicated its Integrated Systems Technology (IST) Certificate Program. With this innovative equipment, Owens becomes one of only eight academic institutions nationwide to receive federal funding to stimulate industrial growth, using the latest technological advancements in manufacturing and process control.
Funding for the new equipment is part of a federal grant, which originated by the U.S. Department of Labor and dispersed through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services-Department of Workforce Development this past year. The grant was recently awarded to Owens and the Wood County Workforce Policy Board to initiate the new IST Certificate Program.
Owens Community College President Christa Adams, Ph.D., Board of Trustees Chair Jack T. Sculfort, Board of Trustees member John G. Ault and Provost Dr. Paul Unger, and Wood County Commissioners Alvin L. Perkins and Tim W. Brown officially dedicated the new Owens IST Certificate Program and high-tech equipment during a ribbon cutting ceremony. The event occurred in the College's Center for Development and Training Building.
"The selection of Owens Community College to initiate such an important academic program offering is truly an investment in the future of industrial manufacturing within the United States," said Dr. Paul Unger, Provost of Owens Community College. "By acquiring this high-tech equipment, Owens is committed to meeting the demand for highly-skilled integrated systems technologists to further enhance economic growth among Northwest Ohio's businesses and industries."
Provost Unger added, "We are excited to have this opportunity to incorporate the latest high-tech equipment into our skilled training and educational programs."
The new IST certificate will require approximately 200 hours of coursework and provide students with hands-on technical education, which incorporates mechanical, electrical, electronic and fluid power concepts used by several local and international companies. Among the companies utilizing such technology are Caterpillar Inc., Calphalon, Daimler-Chrysler, Dana Corporation and the Ford Motor Company.
According to Dave Siravo, Owens Manager of Apprenticeship Training, the number of integrated systems technologists is declining due to an aging workforce, which has caused a tremendous shortage of people with the knowledge to maintain, calibrate and repair high-tech electrical, mechanical and electronic equipment within the manufacturing industry.
"The need for individuals with the technical training to maintain the technologies and manufacturing equipment found in today's industrial environments is greater than ever," Siravo said. "Integrated systems technology is an integral part of the economic future of business and industry. The establishing of this new IST program will enable Owens to provide students with educational training on high-tech equipment of tomorrow."
Individuals who will benefit from this new educational opportunity are displaced workers and adults who are interested in acquiring entry-level training for careers as commercial electricians, millwrights and industrial mechanics. As part of the IST initiative, the Wood County Workforce Policy Board will be collaborating with Owens, serving as a recruiter and referring workers to enter the certificate program.
Following completion of the IST Certificate Program, students interested in pursuing additional academic opportunities will be able to apply instructional hours received toward an associate's degree or certificate program within the electrical or mechanical concentration.
The four pilot sites implementing the new certificate program in Ohio are Owens Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, North Central State College and Sinclair Community College. Sites located in Illinois include Richard J. Daley College, Elgin Community College, Lakeland Community College and Moraine Valley Community College.
Among the individuals instrumental in Owens Community College securing the IST grant were U.S. Representatives' Marcy Kaptur and Paul Gillmor, Tom Hayes, Ohio Director of Job and Family Services, and Don Singer, Ohio Director of Workforce Development.
In addition to the ribbon cutting ceremony, the College's Workforce and Community Services Division hosted an open house where Owens officials gave live demonstrations of the fluid power, electrical, motor controls and hydraulics equipment.
Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Northwest Ohio with 24 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 38,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor 's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.