State budget proposes millions to colleges for improved technology

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted visits Wright State to see how school use technology in engineering labs.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted toured Wright State University’s engineering labs Wednesday and got a close up look at how students use visualization and medical equipment in their education.

Husted and Ohio Chancellor of Higher Education Randy Gardner’s visit to the Greene County campus was part of a statewide tour where both touted Gov. Mike DeWine’s budget proposal.

The state is considering earmarking $200 million in higher education state grants specifically for collaboration between higher education institutions and building needed workforce skills. The grants are called the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills.

Husted said if the General Assembly passes the $200 million in the state budget, the state will be able to fund further breakthroughs in technology.



“It just makes this area more attractive to businesses and helps support the mission of the Air Force Base,” Husted said. “All of those things create a virtuous cycle where more people have the education they need for their job security and earning power and businesses have the talent they need to be successful.”

A total of $462,601 in a state grant in 2022 allowed Wright State to purchase equipment to train students in advanced manufacturing and data science. In 2018, a similar state grant gave WSU $539,000 to build a 3D imaging lab, which can be used by computer science students, nursing students and medical students. A Department of Defense grant worth about $1.17 million allowed the university to purchase an MRI machine for neuroscience research.

Husted said the labs at Wright State students help the entire region. The university trains students for in-demand jobs. The state funding helps keep down the cost of what could otherwise be a very expensive project for the university.

“It helps our students get educated and trained on the most modern technology, and helps keep college affordable for tuition prices,” Husted said.

Sue Edwards, the president of Wright State, said the labs also help other surrounding higher education institutions, like Sinclair Community College, Edison State Community College and the University of Dayton, who all work with Wright State.

She said as part of the lab tour Husted walked into a virtual chest cavity, something that not everyone would have the opportunity to do. With the university’s 3D imaging equipment, medical and nursing students can virtually learn skills on a nursing dummy without putting any real person at risk.

“What we’re trying to do is amplify the effect of the gain of that equipment so that all students within the region are going to have similar opportunities, so that when they go out into the workforce they already have the skill sets,” Edwards said.

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