Women making a difference in Springfield: Jo Alice Blondin

Clark State College President Jo Alice Blondin said the school is working to bring added value to area students and the community as a whole through workforce development and opportunity.

Blondin became the fifth president of the college in 2013 after she had been searching for opportunities to move to the state to be closer to family. Although she’s originally from Indiana, she’s lived in Arizona and Arkansas, where she’s worked in multiple levels of academia: a leader in student government, a graduate student, a Ph. D candidate, a faculty member, the leader of student affairs and a chancellor.

The Springfield News-Sun is highlighting a small portion of the extraordinary women leaders in our community this week. The series of profiles began Sunday.

Clark State has seen growth since Blondin’s start: the development of new courses and degree programs, a name change for the college and the expansion of campuses.

Clark State has locations in Xenia, Bellefontaine and Beavercreek, but Blondin said she considers Springfield the “mothership” of the college.

“This is where we started, and this is where we gained so much support,” she said. “So we want to serve throughout our region. The city of Springfield and Clark County are extremely important to our workforce engagements.”

The locations of Clark State, Blondin said, position the college to deeply engage with the area’s “strong legacy manufacturing base” and new developers coming to the region. The college’s proximity to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Springfield Air National Guard also add to its workforce appeal, Blondin said.

In addition, the college has also built a strong nursing program over the years, with students working at local health centers and hospitals during their studies. The college expanded its programming to include addiction and integrated treatment services, and the college also received grant funding to implement trauma-informed practices across the college, Blondin said.

“Every person has been touched by addiction, whether it’s through their own family or family member who is addicted, or if they’ve suffered from some kind of substance abuse disorder,” she said. “It is a workforce issue. It’s a health care issue. And it’s an issue of humanity.”

In addition to serving as president of the college, Blondin also serves as the Chair of the Higher Learning Commission Board of Trustees.

One thing Blondin loves about the city is how many people in it want to be involved in moving Springfield forward.

“There’s a collaborative spirit in Springfield that makes doing things out of the box a lot easier,” she said.

About our series

The Springfield News-Sun is highlighting how women leaders are making an impact in the city this week. On Sunday, Sept. 11, the newspaper featured Dr. Yamini Teegala of Rocking Horse Community Health Center, Tyra Jackson of Second Harvest Food Bank, and Capt. Allison Elliott of the Springfield Police Division. Monday’s paper featured Elaina Bradley of Shelter, Inc. Tuesday’s edition included a profile about Laura Baxter of Project Woman, and Wednesday featured Betty Grimes, of Springfield. The series ends with Dr. Jo Alice Blondin of Clark State College.

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