Lorain County Community College held a celebration and open house at the Desich SMART Microsystems Center on May 23 to mark the conclusion of the first year of the TRAIN Ohio program.
Launched in August 2016, the Training Recruitment Acceleration Innovation Network of Ohio brings together students and local industry partners. Students complete internships while earning an associates degree in mechatronics technology which focuses on micro electrical mechanical systems under the earn and learn model.
“It is really an opportunity for students to know they are going to be connected to employers, earn some money to help pay for their degree, because we don’t want students to graduate with a lot of debt, and make sure we’re training people for the jobs employers have,” said Terri Burgess Sandu, LCCC’s director of Talent and Business Innovation.
The program, Burgess Sandu explained, offers an opportunity for Lorain County to become invested in the innovation economy and transition from traditional production manufacturing toward new industries such as microelectronics. LCCC is a part of Ohio TechNet, a network of 11 Ohio community colleges using a similar model in creating a curriculum which corresponds directly to the needs of industry.
Brynt Parmeter, director of workforce development, education and training at San Jose-based Next Flex, said after developing the proposal with LCCC that the program could be replicated across the country by business and industry in developing talent.
“This community has a sense about it that there is so much potential. There’s actually more innovation and creative potential here than there is in Silicon Valley,” Parmeter said.
Burgess Sandu said the idea for the partnership began in 2015 when officials from a number of companies in the microelectronics industry were visiting the region. Then in January 2016, six companies signed on and agreed to partner with LCCC, including Wooster’s RBB and Elyria’s SMART Microsystems.
“We know we have to not only have the right content, but we have to deliver it,” Burgess Sandu said. “We know we need new ways of partnering with industry to get students excited about these careers, to make sure they are connected to those careers early on and to make sure that we are doing everything we can to build wealth in our community.”