ELYRIA, Ohio — The City of Elyria and Lorain County Community College is ready to help their residents level up. The two entities just partnered to form what they call "Skill City Promise."
The new program is focused on reskilling and upskilling Elyria residents through short-term certificate programs in business, health care, information technology, computer science and development. The program is designed to serve as a path to a new and in-demand career.
"Seeing how education in America is really the pathway that opens up so many doors we wanted to see how could we really make that promise to the community that they would have the same opportunity that so many of us had," said Elyria's Mayor, Frank Whitfield.
To be eligible for the program, participants must be a resident of the city of Elyria , have earned a high school diploma or GED and enroll into a designated short-term certificate program in Spring 2021 or beyond. Those who live within the city without a diploma ,who are interested in Skill City Promise, must enroll in LCCC’s free Aspire/GED program or 22+ Adult Diploma program first.
"We've found this is really attractive to a lot of adults who really can't see themselves in long-term training or really going for degrees because of their adult responsibilities," said
Cindy Kushner, the Director of School and Community Partnerships for LCCC. "What can we do for our community to give them that nudge, give them that hope, to turn things around, and this really is a great match."
Whitfield said he thinks this is a good fit for three types of people:
- Those in industries that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
- Those who don't have any skills yet, like recent high school graduates.
- People who want to upskill so they can move up in their company.
"I have this philosophy that that salvation of our economy is going to come from the incumbent work force," he said. "We see now how important it is for so many people to get retrained because the occupations they were in have been so disrupted that they probably won't be coming back or coming back the way they were before."
Both, the city and LCCC, hope this program serves as the building blocks for people to continue their education.
"You start with that short-term opportunity but then it builds and fits into one-year certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees and beyond," Kushner said.
The Elyria City Council voted to approve $200,000 in funding for this program to get it started. They hope to raise $1 million through grants and donations, with the goal of training 2025 Elyrians by the year 2025.