After years of debate, research, and landlord-credit problems, Owens Community College will expand into Maumee's Arrowhead Park in Lucas County.
The college will relocate its Workforce and Community Services division to a 25,480-square-foot facility at 1724 Indian Wood Circle, on the park's north end near the Ohio Turnpike and Holland Road. According to market research studies, the division could have more of an impact at the new site than in its current location at the campus in Perrysburg Township.
"Not only would it create more jobs, but it would be maintaining jobs," college Provost Paul Unger said. The new location will offer the services that run out of the Workforce and Community Services division's current location at the campus in Perrysburg Township.
Those services include credit and noncredit courses in a variety of areas including community education, business, technology, skills certification, and personal enrichment. The courses are expected to begin for the spring semester of 2010.
Most of the college's apprenticeship programs will remain on its Toledo-area and Findlay campuses, but because the new facility could be expanded to as large as 80,000 square feet, Mr. Unger said that could change.
"It's a very flexible space," he said. The current project should support about 1,000 students.
Negotiations to lease a different portion of land from Arrowhead Park failed last year after that property's landlord filed for bankruptcy. This time, Owens Vice President John Satkowski assured the college's board of trustees that the landlord has the funds to renovate the property.
But administrators said there were some advantages to the delay last year, since the new prop-erty has more space for parking and the lease rate has gone down. The college will spend $500,000 annually to lease the space.
"This is a great time to get a rate," Mr. Satkowski said. He said that the project is budget-neutral, because the college expects to generate enough revenue from course tuition.
He said it might eventually turn a profit.
Mr. Satkowski said with expansion and at full capacity, the new location could serve as many students as the Findlay campus.
In other news, Lucas County commissioners yesterday approved a $1.9 million federal stimulus grant for Owens, the largest grant or gift in its 44-year history.
The money will provide short-term training and job-placement programs within the industries of green energy, health care, and construction.
Training programs will last up to six months and award industry-recognized certification to participants upon completion.
Most of the training will take place at Owens' Learning Center at The Source in downtown Toledo, but some classes will be offered at the Perrysburg Township campus depending on demand.
Like all stimulus money, the grant is designed to provide training and job placement as quickly as possible.
The $1 million for green jobs, $600,000 for health care jobs, and $300,000 for preappreticeship programs in construction must be spent by next June.
Michael Bankey, vice president of the college's Workforce and Community Services, said the particulars of the grant should be finalized within the next week, and the program should be advertised soon after that. Classes will begin in August on installation and energy management, followed by wind installation and wind service in September, and geoinstallation and geoservice in October.
Those eligible for classes must be 18 or older and be unemployed, never employed, or dislocated workers.
Overall, the program hopes to train 650 people: 250 for green jobs, 300 for health care, and 100 for skills trades. The goal is for 90 percent of participants to complete the training and 80 percent to receive job placement.
"We're very excited about it," Mr. Unger said. "We are excited about accomplishing our mission and serving our community."
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