The passage of Issue 61 in November ushered in a new era not only for Cuyahoga Community College, but also for the Northeast Ohio workforce. This $227.5 million bond issue will ensure Tri-C has the physical resources necessary to continue to meet the needs of the regional economy for the next 25 years.
Tri-C is a major driver of workforce development in Northeast Ohio and the region. According to Team NEO’s report, “Aligning Opportunities in Northeast Ohio,” the “demand for skilled and educated talent is increasing, and by 2020 the majority of jobs in Ohio will require some type of post-secondary credential.”
Help is needed
The skills gap in Cleveland means that only six out of 10 workers are prepared for today’s high-skilled, high-paying jobs. Therefore, the workforce programs at Tri-C are more important than ever and the need for updated labs, equipment and technology is critical.
At the same time, capital funding from the state of Ohio has decreased, forcing community colleges to look for other avenues. Tri-C is committed to working with local employers to provide educational opportunities for students that ultimately lead to degrees and certificates with labor market value. With this well-established foundation and strong community support, Tri-C elected to pursue the first capital bond issue in its 54-year history.
The response from the community was overwhelming. In preliminary numbers, 68 percent of Cuyahoga County voters supported Issue 61, among the strongest margins of any of the college’s ballot issues.
Expanded resources, opportunities
This investment will provide resources to expand classrooms, labs and technology for workforce training, health care and other technical education programs — science, manufacturing, engineering, robotics, public safety and information technology.
It will also permit essential building repairs to plumbing, electrical, HVAC systems, security and technology and to improve access for people with disabilities.
Over the next year, several major construction projects and renovations will unfold at Tri-C’s campus locations across the county. But the hard work of preparing the region’s workforce has, of course, already begun. Tri-C is continuing to strengthen offerings in the college’s six centers of excellence, which are aligned to key industry sectors.
Key metrics that measure students’ success and completion continue to rise. And Tri-C remains committed to its mission: ensuring access to life-changing education for everyone. Additional information about all of these areas, and more, can be found in the State of College issue of the Tri-C Times that is bundled with this magazine for subscribers.
Tri-C has always been a college of its community. With the invigorating vote of confidence through Issue 61, the college will continue to build that community for decades to come. ●
Alex Johnson, Ph. D., is president at Cuyahoga Community College