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Local colleges, students to gain from Intel growth

A report by the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, or OACAA, shows Ohio’s poverty rate is 12.7 percent — that is 0.8 percent higher than the national rate.

Sadly, that trend has been consistent over the past five years.

That’s why we are so excited to see new jobs and local training opportunities that will come with development of the new Intel semiconductor plant being built in central Ohio. The massive $20 billion facility will benefit our state, and it also stands to benefit our Mahoning Valley directly.

“We need to make sure that those opportunities are spread throughout Ohio and to all income groups. If that happens, we can see real improvement for our citizens as well as our economy,” Philip Cole, executive director of OACAA, told WYSO.

He’s right. Ensuring that local institutions of higher learning take advantage of available education funds will ensure that local students get the opportunity at high-quality starts they need to be ready for jobs at Intel.

We learned in recent weeks that Youngstown State and Kent State universities are among 80 higher education institutions in Ohio that will benefit from the $17.7 million Intel intends to give out during the next three years to develop semiconductor-focused education and workforce programs.

Intel announced the investment — the initial phase of its $50 million pledge to the state’s colleges and universities — before its recent groundbreaking at the future site of the technology giant’s leading-edge computer chip facility in New Albany.

YSU will partner with 10 other colleges and universities in northeast Ohio to provide training programs in automation, robotics, microelectronics and semiconductor processing to help students gain the skills needed to support semiconductor manufacturing and equipment operations.

Kent State also is among those 10 colleges. Additionally, Kent State will lead a network of 13 other colleges and universities “to prepare the workforce to make the small electronic devices that play a large role in our everyday lives,” according to the university. That coalition also includes KSU’s seven branches, including Kent State University at Trumbull in Champion.

“Kent State is well suited to answer Intel’s charge to help the region and the nation meet key technology challenges, such as addressing the demand for semiconductors,” Todd Diacon, KSU president said. “This grant presents us with a great opportunity to empower this network of academic institutions to take the lead in the future of microelectronics in ways that tangibly advance the workforce.”

Eastern Gateway Community College, which operates in Youngstown, also is part of a collaborative effort involving 16 community colleges and technical schools in Ohio to develop semiconductor education and workforce programs for tech giant Intel. As part of the Artificial Intelligence Incubator Network, EGCC will provide workforce and career accelerator training courses as a gateway to in-demand fields.

The fact is that once Intel’s new facility is up and running in the not-too-distant future, it will have a need for some 3,000 well-trained workers.

That bodes well for our region’s educators, our region’s students and for all of Ohio.

editorial@vindy.com

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