Leveraging investments made by the Ohio Department of Higher Education in state of the art educational facilities, a highly innovative academic team, strong economic development and employer partners and the collaborative infrastructure of Ohio TechNet, Lorain County Community College was able to rapidly deploy an innovative earn and learn program in the Fall of 2016 called TRAIN Ohio.
TRAIN Ohio blends school and work into a 21st century earn and learn hybrid activity where companies and educators integrate activities in both space and time. A focus on MicroElectrical Mechanical Systems (MEMS), an existing program of study at Lorain County Community College designed to operate in concert with its SMART Center for Microsystems, was used to pilot this earn/learn model. The goal is to expand the model to include other areas of mechatronics, which brings together industrial maintenance studies in both electrical and mechanical areas
The TRAIN network builds on existing collaboration with manufacturing companies in the region involved with microelectronic assemblies and flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) who are part of a SMART Devices innovation cluster led by Team Northeast Ohio (NEO), a regional economic development entity. Other partners include the University of Akron College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, employers and other local manufacturing intermediaries.
The strength of this regional collaboration led to an investment of $100,000 by NextFlex, a public-private consortium of companies, academic institutions, nonprofits and governments with a mission to advance US manufacturing of flexible hybrid electronics. NextFlex encourages investment in the manufacturing ecosystem for this exciting technology, in return for receiving intellectual property, new product ideas and partnering opportunities.