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Edison marks 40 years

Edison Community College marks it 40th anniversary this year — and the growth of the school from a start-up in rented space to an institution that has a $32 million economic impact on Miami County.

And the future holds even more for the college, which now serves 3,000 students a year.

Edison has formed new partnerships that will allow the college to help better prepare high school students for higher education, provide internships for students and aid businesses in getting the trained workforce they need, said Cristobal “Cris” Valdez, who became president in May 2011.

“We’re trying to develop those pathways and help young people understand that more and more, higher education is less of an option and more of a necessity,” Valdez said.

Even with its growth, Valdez said, “People just don’t know enough about us” and the hallmark of the college: its high interaction with students.

Two-thirds of Edison’s graduates are the first in their family to graduate from college. And Edison’s goal is to get credentials into the hands of more of the residents in its area.

About 31 percent of Miami County residents now have at least an associate’s degree, according to the Lumina Foundation. But 57 percent of jobs in Ohio will require higher education by 2018, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.

“The jobs of the future — many of them, most of them — will require at least some post-secondary education,” said Tom Milligan, a member of the college’s Board of Trustees since 1999. “The good news for our communities is Edison is here.”

Edison this fall landed a $200,000 grant to place instruction, advisors and tutoring in local high schools to help students prepare for college. And the college expects more funding next fall.

Edison was also approached about bringing classes into Troy, Valdez said.

Partnerships with local businesses will be a big part of the future. And Edison has requested state funding to construct a center for innovation on its Piqua campus that would focus on information technology and manufacturing — important industries in the area.

The college itself accounted for 495 jobs in 2010-11, according to the economic impact study by the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education.

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