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Workforce Success Initiative opens application period

Initiatives to improve workforce opportunities in the Appalachian region have been made possible thanks to a project spearheaded by OHIO Regional Higher Education (RHE).

Entering its fourth year, the RHE Workforce Success Initiative funds proposals submitted by faculty and staff across Ohio University’s regional campuses. These proposals aim to develop the potential of individuals while creating tangible benefits for local employers.

The initiative, which just opened a new application period, is improving workforce opportunities in the Appalachian region – and it’s strengthening students and communities.

Dr. Jacqueline Yahn, assistant professor of teacher education at Ohio University Eastern and an expert in rural and Appalachian communities, schools and school funding, has developed a regional Rural Teacher Fellowship program through the initiative in collaboration with community partner Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) that was awarded funding in the last application program.

“The schools give so much to our education programs. We want to work with rural teachers… to connect schools, communities, businesses,” Yahn said about the fellowship program.

These projects, and the positive experience students have throughout them, are helping to curb outmigration of youth in the service area.

“Geographic isolation doesn’t need to be isolation from the opportunity to build social capital through a network. This is really about rural kids and giving them pride,” said Yahn.

Another recently funded project is a professional development opportunity in the form of a STREAM Camp for Professional Educators.

Dr. Teri Peasley, program coordinator for early childhood and elementary education, and Dr. Theresa Paterra, education program assistant, decided it was up to them to create a more meaningful experience for teachers.

During this two-week camp on Ohio University Zanesville’s campus, teachers developed and delivered engaging curriculum for students in STREAM content (science, technology, reading/writing, engineering, art and mathematics), while positioning students for success in adulthood.

Vice Provost for RHE and Partnerships Lewatis McNeal is committed to funding initiatives that serve not only our students, faculty, and staff, but also our community. 

“As the higher education partner in the regions we serve, we are committed to funding and developing the instruction that will enrich our students and business community alike,” he said.

Projects are competitively awarded based on the review and recommendations of the RHE Workforce Success Initiative Review Committee.

Over the past three years, the Workforce Success Initiative has provided over $60,000 in support of projects led by RHE faculty and staff.

“Collaborating with the communities we serve through this initiative is an example of our commitment to transformative education that helps our workforce continue to grow and succeed,” said McNeal.

The next round of funding for the Regional Higher Education Workforce Success Initiative is accepting applications through March 29. Those considering applying who have questions may register for a Q&A about the RFP taking place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 29.

February 20, 2024
Sarah Simmons