Area colleges and universities plays a pivotal role in keeping a pipeline of talent flowing to Dayton’s growing industries.
A highly skilled and readily available workforce is a cornerstone of the Dayton region’s economic development success. A robust network of colleges and universities – including Miami University, the University of Dayton, Wright State University, Central State University and Kettering College, all of which were named among the top 10 colleges in Ohio by U.S. News & World Report – plays a pivotal role in keeping a pipeline of talent flowing to Dayton’s growing industries.
Engineering a Talent Base
The region boasts high educational attainment rates and a high concentration of residents with advanced degrees in STEM fields. In fact, Forbes magazine ranked the Dayton region fourth nationally for a concentration of engineers, thanks in large part to Miami University’s College of Engineering and Computing.
“Ohio has always been a hotbed of manufacturing and technological innovation. Intel’s decision to build at least two semiconductor fabrication plants in our state is just another example of what Ohio and Miami University have to offer by way of a talent pool,” says Beena Sukumaran, dean of Miami University’s College of Engineering and Computing.
Sukumaran says the university’s manufacturing engineering program has pivoted to Industry 4.0 with an increased emphasis on robotics, automation, industrial control systems, additive manufacturing and other salient curricular features. Based in Oxford, Ohio, the university also offers an undergraduate degree program in robotics engineering in addition to the undergraduate and graduate degree programs in computer science, engineering management, software engineering, mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering and electrical engineering.
“Our students are ready to adapt to today’s modern manufacturing plants, with automation being employed where feasible, increasing data analytics to improve manufacturing processes and augment efficiency, and an increased use of robots of many shapes and sizes,” Sukumaran says.
Prescribing a Healthy Workforce
Kettering College plays a significant role in meeting employers’ talent needs by consistently graduating highly trained professionals into the medical field.
“Our graduates are in high demand, many of them obtaining employment prior to graduation,” says Courtney Dove, public relations and marketing director for the college. “We have a robust career services department that works diligently to ensure that each graduate leaves with a sense of direction and a solid plan for their career. This is why all of our programs have above a 95% job placement rate.”
Dove says the college works closely with the region’s health care providers, including Kettering Health, to ensure students know of all the career opportunities available to them.
In addition to highly touted fouryear higher education institutions, Dayton boasts a solid collection of community colleges – including Clark State, Southern State and Sinclair – which provides a range of degree and certificate programs that help businesses meet their workforce needs. The colleges also work with businesses to offer internships and apprenticeships that introduce students to and help prepare them for local careers.
Clark State in Springfield, for example, offers apprenticeship programs in in-demand areas such as industrial maintenance, cybersecurity, and drug and alcohol counseling.
“Clark State is proud to partner with local businesses to provide real-world work experiences to students,” says Crystal Jones, vice president of marketing, diversity and community impact for Clark State.
Co-ops, internships and apprenticeships integrate classroom study with paid, planned and supervised work experiences, she says. Students can network with employers, gain experience in their field of study, and many are hired after their experience.
“This is a great program for employers to develop a recruiting pipeline and for students to explore their future career fields,” Jones says.
“This is a great program for employers to develop a recruiting pipeline and for students to explore their future career fields.”
Crystal Jones, Clark State
The college’s Career Services department maintains an online job board that connects students to jobs in the region, and industry advisory committees that often are made up of human resource professionals, hiring managers and staffing agencies also help connect students to employers.
“Not to mention our Workforce Development and Business Solutions department, which fosters relationships with our region’s employers to not only connect, but to prepare students for specific jobs,” she says.
“Clark State is at the table with our employers as a part of the team – celebrating accomplishments and brainstorming concerns together,” Jones says. “The role the college plays, as it relates to the talent needs of our employers, is to support our region by offering the training and credentials that are specific to those identified needs. The ability of our Workforce Development and Business Solutions department to customize training is truly impactful to the employers we serve.”
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