Take Flight: State funding would expand GCCC programming

XENIA – Greene County Career Center and Clark State Community College with support from Ohio State Senator Bob Hackett, Representative Rick Perales and Representative Bill Dean have announced an initiative that is anticipated to generate $850,000 in state funding to the region.

If authorized in the coming weeks by Governor John Kasich the funds will be used for construction and needed technologies that will expand aerospace and aviation training. The expansion of programs offered by the Greene County Career Center is part of the “Take Flight Initiative”, a focused approach to expand training and certification programs around aerospace career paths. This bill’s purpose is to make capital appropriations and changes to the law governing capital projects and to make re-appropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2020.

Once authorized, the funds would be used to expand career-technical programming for high school and adult students in the areas of aviation maintenance and a UAV engineering and operations.

The effort builds on a market analysis conducted by Greene County Career Center that shows a need for workers in aerospace fields in the areas of engineering, manufacturing and information technology tied to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and its affiliated contractors. Other program and facility expansions are also being evaluated as part of the expansion.

“It’s important for our public to know that we are looking to exp and our programming but not at the expense of our current pathways for high school and middle school students,” said Greene County Career Center Superintendent David Deskins. “Manufacturing and construction, especially, are two areas we know are in dire need of qualified workers. With Take Flight, we are addressing part of that need as we continue to promote and train needed career pathways as we have in the past.”

The capital appropriations are included in House Bill 529 and come from a recommendation by the Dayton Development Coalition’s Priority Development and Advocacy Committee based on a proposal by Greene County Career Center and Clark State. The bill has now cleared the House and Senate and awaits approval by the Governor.

“I am so proud of the work done by the Greene County Career Center, our local schools and higher education facilities as well as our business and industry leaders for their continued collaboration and expansion of the aerospace industry,” said State Representative Rick Perales. “These partnerships have made large advancements to grow the support network needed to develop our workforce in southwest Ohio. Senator Hackett, Representative Dean along with other regional legislators and I are excited to see how the appropriated funds will be put to use to make a difference in the Greene County to achieve our collective goals in aviation innovation.”

Other possible plans include the construction of a new Greene County Career Center facility pending consideration of a modest school levy in November of this year.

“We have been told by the Ohio Facilities Construction Committee that our building requires $24.2 million in repairs based on the age of our facility including outdated plumbing, septic, electrical, and failing roofing and heating and cooling systems,” said Deskins. “Those repairs, on a 50 year old building however, would require us to close school and stop training workers for a year and in today’s economy, our business and industry partners cannot afford for us to do that. The career center has been diligent in our efforts to monitor costs and to be good stewards of community resources including our commitment to guard the funds provided by our communities in a small continuing permanent improvement levy in anticipation of a building project. This means that we are confident in our ability to provide a favorable solution that will make any additional levy requests very affordable to our voters as part of this expansion.”

Established in 1967, Greene County Career Center currently serves over 650 high school juniors and seniors through 17 career-technical programs at its main campus and the Agricultural Research Center in Xenia Township.

The center also provides programming for middle and high school students via satellite offerings at all seven public school districts in Greene County.

The Career Center’s main campus and satellite enrollment is the largest it has been in 15 years.