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University Hall. 

COLUMBUS – Students at Bowling Green State University, Northwest State Community College, Rhodes State College, Terra State Community College,and the University of Toledo will be able to enhance their education and job preparedness in several fields thanks to funding approved by the state Controlling Board to purchase state-of-the-art equipment.

Gov. Mike DeWine, Chancellor Randy Gardner and the Ohio legislature targeted $8 million in the most recent state operating budget to assist Ohio’s public universities, community colleges, and career technical centers in offering the most up-to-date education possible in an effort to provide a skilled workforce for in-demand jobs. The funds will provide nine regional awards as part of the Department of Higher Education’s Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills program.

Northwest Ohio award totals are as follows: Bowling Green, $147,345 for advanced manufacturing and logistics; Northwest State, $121,724 for advanced manufacturing; Rhodes State, $103,244 for advanced manufacturing; Terra State, $128,400 for advanced manufacturing; and Toledo, $474,287 for advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity.

DeWine announced the latest round of awards at an event on Wednesday at Central Ohio Technical College’s Knox County campus in Mount Vernon.

“The RAPIDS program awards offer a unique opportunity for Ohio’s postsecondary educational institutions and employers to help address local workforce needs,” DeWine said. “Students are able to gain access to top-notch equipment that helps better prepare them for available jobs.”

RAPIDS grants are used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for use in education and training programs specific to regional workforce needs. Equipment is often shared among campuses, allowing more students get a quality education more affordably. This regional award, totaling $975,000, will be used to develop talent in the cybersecurity, logistics, and advanced manufacturing fields..

“When businesses and our higher education institutions are asked to work together to develop strategic plans for using these funds, it provides students with more opportunities for success while strengthening the regional workforce and Ohio’s economy,” Gardner said.

Local business partners said the RAPIDS grants will help fill a need for skilled workers.

“This model will help to develop graduates that are ready to join the future of advanced cyber-physical manufacturing, which will be governed by autonomous mobile robotics,” said Jeremy Espinoza, manufacturing manager for Cooper Tire and Rubber Company.

The RAPIDS program was launched in 2014; these are among the fourth round of regional awards.

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