Regional Workforce Training Project Roundup

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Buckeye Hills Regional Council awarded funding to seven regional workforce training providers this month, totaling over $1 million to support the work of equipping and growing the quality of the workforce in southeast Ohio.

Workforce development in southeast Ohio not only supports employees in their pursuit of livable wages, but it also supports the needs of local employers in need of high quality, educated employees to contribute to the success of their businesses and organizations.

Scroll below and learn more about each project funded in our region!

Photo by ARC of Appalachia

make your future training program

Project County: Athens

Counties Served: Athens

Project Applicant: ReUse Industries

Project Partners: Athens County Department of Job and Family Services

Total Amount Awarded: $104,500

Project Narrative: ReUse Industries (RU) and the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services (ACDJFS) will pilot an employment training program – Make Your Future – combining retail, product-making and self-directed skill-building activities in order to improve the employment prospects of workers at the lower end of the educational attainment spectrum. Building upon ACDJFS’ role as the lead local agency for the State of Ohio’s Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP) and the long-term workforce training partnership between RU and ACDJFS, this pilot program will take advantage of RU’s new training facility – Athens MakerSpace – and multiple RU activity lines in order to provide training embedded in real-world work settings that are pertinent to employers in a wide range of industries.


Photo by Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, Tina Fronk Photographer, of Clear Creek

Training & internship opportunities to strengthen the social service sector in appalachian ohio through the arts

Project County: Athens

Counties Served: Athens, Hocking

Project Applicant: Athens Photographic Project, Inc.

Project Partners: Personnel Plus, Ohio University

Total Amount Awarded: $90,000

Project Narrative: The Athens Photo Project (APP) will bring together job and career training specialists and training participants to build on existing art-based behavioral health programs and develop new initiatives benefiting the social service sector in Southeastern Ohio by creating jobs, economic activity, and a sustainable training program for future activity. This Training and Workforce Development Program will result in new job creation in Southeast Ohio for In-Demand occupations (identified on Ohio Means including Training and Development Specialists, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers, Social Service Managers; as well as creating in-demand opportunities to place individuals with psychiatric disabilities in the workforce as entrepreneurs in commercial art production and in other production opportunities as identified by our workforce development partners.


Photo by Athens Conservancy

epicenter innovation

Project County: Washington

Counties Served: Morgan, Noble, Washington

Project Applicant: Buildings Bridges to Careers

Project Partners: Washington County Department of Job and Family Services,Ohio Valley Educational Service Center, LIGHTS Program

Total Amount Awarded: $97,500

Project Narrative: The major activities that will be undertaken as part of this project are:

  1. expand a current part-time contracted position to a full-time employed position titled BB2C Placement Coordinator

  2. increase the number of internship opportunities available to area high school students, youth, unemployed and underemployed, and utilize the newly created Careers in my Community app as a database and hub for regional opportunities

  3. provide Epicenter scholarships for local small manufacturing companies, start-up businesses, and individuals to participate in the full gamut of Epicenter offerings (including Makerspace equipment and small business growth and support services).

The purpose of these activities is to provide opportunities to increase worker wages, support the creation of new job opportunities, support the creation of internships and similar activities that will benefit workers in Southeastern Ohio.


Photo of Little Hocking River Park by Kent Whitehead Photographer via Trust for Public Land

Mary hill dental clinic

Project County: Athens

Counties Served: Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, Washington

Project Applicant: Hopewell Health Centers

Project Partners: Integrated Services for Behavioral Health, Hocking College, Ohio State University, Health Path Foundation, Ohio Association of Community Health Centers

Total Amount Awarded: $250,000

Project Narrative: Hopewell Health Centers will renovate, equip and supply 3 additional dental operatories in the Mary Hill Center (MHC) located in Nelsonville to be designated as training operatories. The remainder will be used as start-up salary support for HHC dentists to help design and pilot training rotations for Hocking College Hygiene Students, OSU Dental students, and a Residency Program. Students will be trained in basic oral health procedures as well holistic, integrated care which is a hallmark of HHC’s services. The Mary Hill Dental Clinic will accept patients from any county, although due to geographic distance it is most likely to serve patients from Athens and Hocking Counties. Hygiene and Dental Students will be accepted from any county in Ohio but priority will be given to those that are served by the Buckeye Hills Regional Council.


Photo by Buckeye Trail Association

instrumentation lab project

Project County: Washington

Counties Served: Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, Washington

Project Applicant: Marietta Electrical JATC

Project Partners: Marietta Electrical JATC represents 259 individuals and approximately 35 contractors

Total Amount Awarded: $223,000

Project Narrative: Marietta Electrical JATC will build an Instrumentation Training Lab and use the entire project experience as a training aid for current apprentices beginning with research, design and estimating the cost of the project. Marietta Electrical JATC will utilize apprentices to install all permanent power to meet National Electrical Code. Additionally, apprentices will be used to design and fabricate the lab stations and teaching aids.


Photo by Athens Conservancy

strengthening natural resources career pathways & workforce development through service

Project County: Athens

Counties Served: Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Morgan, Noble, Perry, Washington, Other

Project Applicant: Rural Action

Project Partners: ServeOhio, Licking Soil & Water, Stuart’s Opera House, Ohio Hill Country Heritage Area, Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, Buckeye Trail Association, Perry Soil & Water District, ReUse Industries, Wayne National Forest, Tuscarawa Soil & Water, Dairy Barn Arts Center, Hocking Soil & Water, Captina Creek Conservancy, The Wilds, United Plant Savers

Total Amount Awarded: $25,000

Project Narrative: Capacity is a challenge for small rural organizations, and finding work one loves can also be a challenge. To address these twin issues, Rural Action -- a membership-based private nonprofit community development organization whose work centers around (1) growing jobs and businesses, (2) restoring the environment, (3) cultivating the next generation of leaders, and (4) supporting small communities to achieve their preferred future -- has been managing a national service program for over two decades. Beginning with a Volunteers In Service to America (VISTA) project in 1994 and continuing today through the AmeriCorps-funded Ohio Stream Restore Corps (OSRC) program, Rural Action has provided field experiences and workplace training to 500 people, many of whom decided to put down roots in Appalachia as a result. Currently, 31 OSRC members support 15 organizations in several sectors -- including zero waste, ecotourism, environmental education, public lands access, and sustainable forestry and agriculture -- under AmeriCorps' Environmental Stewardship focus area.


Photo by Jonathan Burkhart Photography via Captina Conservancy

earn program

Project County: Washington

Counties Served: Morgan, Noble, Washington

Project Applicant: Washington State Community College

Project Partners: Memorial Health Systems

Total Amount Awarded: $245,000

Project Narrative: The EARN (Education and Advancement to Registered Nurse) Program provides an innovative approach to training and career advancement for students working toward a career with local health care providers. The EARN Program was designed to meet the immediate needs of health care providers and working students. Upon enrollment students in the program are connected with an employer in as little as one semester of successful completion with the potential for built-in, long-term advancement. At the same time, participating businesses are guaranteed skilled employees who are invested in growing their careers.