FAIRBORN — The Wright State University finance, audit, governance and compliance committee unanimously approved the first step in transforming a division of the university’s Lake Campus into a $3 million Workforce Development Center. The new facility would fill a growing need for skilled manufacturing workers across the state of Ohio.
The project adds 10,000 square feet to the existing Business Enterprise Center on the Lake Campus, located in Celina. The space would include “flexible lab space, instructional space, and an area to showcase the products of sponsoring manufacturers,” according to university documents.
The Lake Campus is well-positioned to partner with several Ohio manufacturers. The Lake Campus has had a 55.3 percent increase in enrollment since 2014, a number the university attributes largely to the addition of engineering and nursing programs, the university said.
Demand for skilled manufacturing personnel is high in the state of Ohio, and is projected to rise further in the coming years. Mercer, Auglaize, Darke and Shelby counties, the surrounding counties of the Lake Campus, project that they will add at least 2,100 new jobs in manufacturing, skilled trades, or engineering each year for the next 8-10 years.
The Workforce Development Center will allow Wright State to offer additional apprenticeships such as machinist and maintenance electrician programs, as well as credits in robotics, automation and system integration technology, and industrial 3D printing.
Wright State received $1.5 million in capital funding from the state of Ohio to support the expansion, an amount the university must match. The university has already received more than $549,000 in donations to support the project, and will supply the remaining $950,000.
The Lake Campus administration will reimburse Wright State for the amount at the rate of $100,000 per year for 10 years, beginning in fiscal year 2024.
Trustees unanimously approved a resolution on May 21 to deliver the Lake Campus Workforce Development Center Project before the Board of Trustees, who will review the proposal at their meeting this June.
Wright State officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment.