President Jo Alice Blondin talks about the 4-year degree in manufacturing technology management the community college plans for students.

Clark State announces first-of-its kind program

Clark State Community College will now offer an applied baccalaureate for the first time in the school’s history.

A four-year degree in manufacturing technology management is in the works, pending approval by state legislators, said Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State.

“We’ve had a laser focus on manufacturing, but our partners have requested increased skills,” Blondin said.

Across the state of Ohio, state leaders in government, business and education have assessed the need for more skilled workers plus more affordable degree options.

“That cost has put the American dream of a college degree out reach for a growing number of students and families, this is unacceptable,” said Gary Cates, senior vice chancellor at the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Clark State announced the plan for the new, four-year degree an event Wednesday morning at its Leffel Lane campus in Springfield.

Leaders of manufacturing companies such as Honda North America, McGregor Metalworking and Cascade Corportation — who all have plants in the greater Miami Valley — were on hand at Clark State to affirm their desire for the kind of knowledge and skills this degree would mean for their future workforce.

“What I really appreciate is (Clark State’s) ability to look into the future and think about what manufacturers might need in the future and this degree is an example of that,” said Scot McLemore, technical workforce development manager at Honda North America.

Many skilled workers with qualifications to be leaders in the company’s facilities are reaching the age of retirement, McLemore said, and Honda knows it will have a number of positions to fill in the near future.

“The need for workers is growing every year,” he said.

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