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Mahoning Career and Technical Center breaks ground, gets $5M grant

Staff photos / R. Michael Semple Mark Lamoncha, president of Humtown Products in Columbiana, and a member of the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, gives his remarks during the groundbreaking ceremony of a $16 million expansion at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center in Canfield on Wednesday morning.

The career and technical centers in Mahoning and Trumbull counties will each receive state grants of more than $5 million for health building projects.

Overall, the state announced $88.9 million Wednesday for 11 projects as part of the Appalachian Community Innovation Centers Program to create full-service centers for public education, community health services and career development.

Funding will cover the construction of four new school-based community wellness, education and career development centers, including one at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.

Also, seven existing districts, including Trumbull Career and Technical Center, will be renovated or expanded to provide those services.

“This is part of our continued commitment to Ohio’s traditionally underserved Appalachian communities,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a prepared statement. “No matter where you live in Ohio, everyone deserves access to high-quality education and healthcare resources, and these new centers will play an important role in the transformational change we’re beginning to see in this region.”

Each center will provide programming and services for in-demand job training, support from Ohio Means Jobs, classrooms and computer labs, walk-in health and mental health clinics, on-site dental services, and wellness, physical health and training space, according to DeWine’s announcement.

The centers will be open to any Ohioan in need of assistance, including those living outside the school districts that received awards.

TCTC is getting $5,126,000 for a 13,600-square-foot expansion of its current facility to create an industrial technology program to fulfill in-demand jobs in manufacturing, expand current mental health services and add space for STEAM and a mental health care pathway.

MCCTC is getting $5,030,815 for a new 12,000-square-foot building at its Canfield campus to house a health care facility, expand health care-related education programs, and new classrooms and teaching labs within the facility.

It also will include two classrooms for its adult workforce and space for mental health and health care partners, said John Zehentbauer, MCCTC’s superintendent.

$16 MILLION FACILITY

The announcement came a little more than an hour after Lt. Gov. Jon Husted participated in a groundbreaking ceremony at MCCTC on a $16 million, 35,000-square-foot career technical education facility.

Husted didn’t bring up the latest grant for MCCTC during his Wednesday visit there even though he is quoted in the email from the governor’s office about that announcement.

Hayley Carducci, Husted’s spokeswoman, said the lieutenant governor knew the announcement was forthcoming, but didn’t know about it during his time at MCCTC.

Zehentbauer said the announcement’s timing came as a surprise to him.

“It’s ironic,” he said. “We didn’t know it was going to be announced. We applied for it several months ago.”

The project received $11.4 million in state funding in November as part of an effort to expand and modernize education and training facilities.

The rest of the money will come from MCCTC funds and in-kind donations.

The facility, when it is completed in summer 2026, will allow MCCTC to increase enrollment capacity in robotics and engineering, electricity and automated systems, computer networking and cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and software engineering, and welding and industrial maintenance.

There is a “growing demand for a skilled workforce and rising student interest in career and tech education,” Zehentbauer said.

While the grant will provide much needed space to help teach about these particular fields, Richard Scarsella, MCCTC board president, said: “It’s really about the students and their future and their careers.”

Husted called career and technical centers “the greatest value in education.”

Husted added, “Why is this important for Ohio and why is this important for the Mahoning Valley? Right now, we’re creating jobs faster than we can find people to fill them.”

By focusing on career and technical education, Husted said it will keep young people in Ohio by providing them with the skills for jobs that are available in the state.

“This is a winning day, a winning celebration and a winning plan that’s going to help young people of this region get the skills they need to succeed,” he said.

The MCCTC project is one of the biggest in the state, Husted said.

Have an interesting story? Contact David Skolnick by email at dskolnick@vindy.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @dskolnick.

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