XENIA — Greene County Career Center Superintendent David Deskins announced March 22 the start of a project that, if approved by the governor, would generate $850,000 to expand career-technical programming in the areas of aviation maintenance and UAV engineering operations at the Greene County Airport.
“Because of the hard work of our legislators, our partners and our school districts, the Greene County Career Center has been added to a house budget bill, House Bill 529,” Deskins said at a chamber networking event, listing Clark State Community College as a partner in the project.
GCCC and Clark State applied for the state funds through the the Dayton Development Coalition’s Priority Development and Advocacy Committee. Already approved by the house and the senate, the bill is scheduled to land on Governor John Kasich’s desk by the end of March for his final signature.
If ultimately awarded, the state funding will be used for construction and technologies to expand aerospace and aviation training. Deskins said meetings and discussions are already underway with the county for the airport-classroom project.
“It is a great partnership and the location will allow students to get real world experience while providing service to the public. It is a real win-win situation,” County Administrator Brandon Huddleson said.
Take Flight Initiative efforts began in 2014 when the career center conducted a market analysis that showed a need for workers in engineering, manufacturing and information technology — all surrounding aerospace.
“It’s important for our public to know that we are looking to expand our programming but not at the expense of our current pathways for high school and middle school students,” Deskins said in a press release. “Manufacturing and construction, especially, are two areas we know are in dire need of qualified workers. With Take Flight, we are addressing part of that need as we continue to promote and train needed career pathways as we have in the past.”
Deskins highlighted the partnerships driving these efforts, and credited additional support of Ohio State Sen. Bob Hackett, Rep. Rick Perales and Rep. Bill Dean.
“These partnerships have made large advancements to grow the support network needed to develop our workforce in southwest Ohio. Senator Hackett, Representative Dean along with other regional legislators and I are excited to see how the appropriated funds will be put to use to make a difference in the Greene County to achieve our collective goals in aviation innovation,” Perales said.
Deskins noted other plans on the horizon, including the possible construction of a new GCCC facility pending consideration of a school levy, which will be on the ballot in November.
“We have been told by the Ohio Facilities Construction Committee that our building requires $24.2 million in repairs based on the age of our facility including outdated plumbing, septic, electrical, and failing roofing and heating and cooling systems,” Deskins said.
“Those repairs, on a 50 year old building however, would require us to close school and stop training workers for a year and in today’s economy, our business and industry partners cannot afford for us to do that. The career center has been diligent in our efforts to monitor costs and to be good stewards of community resources including our commitment to guard the funds provided by our communities in a small continuing permanent improvement levy in anticipation of a building project,” he continued. “This means that we are confident in our ability to provide a favorable solution that will make any additional levy requests very affordable to our voters as part of this expansion.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.