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STEM Labs at OSU-Mansfield

A decade older than nearly every other student on campus, Zach Ernest never dreamed Ohio’s lieutenant governor would care much about his collegiate progress. STEM Labs at OSU-Mansfield

That changed last week when Jon Husted asked the 31-year-old Galion resident to talk about his enrollment at the Mansfield branch of The Ohio State University.

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Ernest told him.

Ernest is one of the first students taking classes in OSU-Mansfield’s newly renovated STEM Labs, which are dedicated to the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a learning space of statewide significance.

“This STEM Lab and all that goes with it is important because, essentially, we want to make Ohio the economic powerhouse of the Midwest,” Husted said. “That’s our aspiration.”

‘Mansfield can be the heartbeat of The Heart of it All’

The new STEM learning environment consists of 11 classrooms in Conard Hall at OSU-Mansfield that were renovated and equipped thanks to $1.9 million in investments through the state’s capital fund, Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) and Super RAPIDS programs.

Ohio’s second-in-command joined more than 100 others Friday to dedicate the space as well as celebrate the campus’ new Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology program, which will graduate its first class in May.

“Ohio is The Heart of it All,” Husted said during his visit. “What you’re doing here in Mansfield can be the heartbeat of The Heart of it All.”

Husted told the audience of students, elected officials and businesspeople that manufacturing companies like Gorman Rupp, Charter Next Generation, and others throughout North Central Ohio made the OSU-Mansfield campus a prime location for the educational investment. He hopes their partnerships flourish.

“We want the students here to be trained on the most modern equipment and technology, just like they’ll use in the real world,” Husted said. “There are many industries, businesses, foundations from the local community that have invested in this, and, what that means is, that here at this campus, the educators understand what the businesses need and are preparing students for that.”

He said STEM students at OSU-Mansfield will “learn the skills that it takes to have great careers, to do amazing things, and to have job security, higher pay, and all of the things that we want out of life.”

“You literally don’t have to go to the main campus at Ohio State to get an engineering technology degree that will prepare you for the latest and greatest things happening — you can do it right here at this Mansfield campus,” Husted said. “There’s something to be said for the beauty of this campus and what you get by just staying here and what you don’t have to deal with in the city.”

‘You can be older and still get an education’

Not only do the businesses and residents of North Central Ohio benefit, but the rest of the Buckeye State can as well.

“The Ohio economy is as strong as it’s been in a very, very long time,” Husted said. “We’ve landed some of the biggest economic development projects in the country.”

The state now has more jobs than available workers, he told the audience, thanks to decisions by more than 50 companies to relocate to Ohio over the past four years.

Companies can fill those positions by attracting new workers to Ohio, but the state’s leadership would rather train Ohioans for those roles.

“We make all of the things that the world needs to live and thrive,” Husted said. “From the food you eat, to the cars you drive, to the trucks that deliver it, to the airplanes that fly it, to the cloud that connects us all, to the chips that power our devices.”

He continued: “To power that future community, you need talent. That’s why the state continues to invest in these types of programs, particularly in the STEM area.”

Once the state’s higher educational systems fills the existing positions, then Ohio’s leadership can begin attracting even more innovative companies.

Students like Ernest are integral to that plan.

“You can be older and still get an education and continue to re-skill yourselves,” Husted said. “We have to build our own talent.”

Source: STEM Labs at OSU-Mansfield

‘Heartbeat of The Heart of it All’: STEM labs at OSU-Mansfield will boost state’s economy

Zach Tuggle

Mansfield News Journal

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