Coronavirus: Clark State continues to train workers through TechCred program

Due to the Coronavirus, Clark State Community College has opted for online classes only. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
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Due to the Coronavirus, Clark State Community College has opted for online classes only. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Clark State Community College is continuing to offer training for area businesses as part of Ohio’s TechCred Program, focusing on online programs and virtual training amid the COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus pandemic.

The statewide program is designed to train workers for in-demand jobs, while reimbursing employers for those training costs. Certificates associated with the program are focused in the areas of health care, information technology, business technology and manufacturing.

Many of the certificate programs can also serve as stepping-stones for those looking to later pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree, according to representatives of Clark State.

TechCred allows businesses to identify specific qualifications needed for their workforce and apply to be reimbursed for up to $2,000 per employee for that training, which includes certification costs as well as textbooks and manuals.

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Clark State has participated in the program since it started in 2019 and recently wrapped up accepting its third round of applicants. Currently the community college can train up to 15 workers per business for each round, said Lesli Beavers, the director of workforce and business solutions for Clark State.

“It is all employer driven. We are simply the training provider,” she said.

However, applications for the latest round, which ended late last month, were light as companies adapt to preventive measures taken state-wide and nationally due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to representatives with Clark State. Business deemed essential by the state have remained open. Some have tweaked their operations, while others have limited or stopped production all together.

Representatives of Clark State said that training can be beneficial for those who have been temporarily laid off or furloughed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In light of Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order with the hopes of reducing the spread of the coronavirus, Clark State was asked to identify online TechCred options. Beavers said they currently offer over 60 TechCred approved certificates and credentials that can be done completely online.

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In addition, current programs associated with the TechCred program have been transitioned to online instruction and virtual modules, as the community college has suspended in-person classes for the rest of the semester.

Businesses can be reimbursed for temporarily laid off workers who participate in the program as long as those workers are back on payroll by the time of the reimbursement, Beavers said.

The community college has had a total of 10 companies participate, with 35 individuals working on receiving different certificates or credentials through the program. Most of those companies have been in the area of manufacturing and businesses can still apply for credentials that are currently not associated with the TechCred program, Beavers added.

Once approved for the reimbursement, participating businesses have 18 months for their employees or potential workers to complete training in order to be reimbursed through the program.

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