Written by Isabella Cerveira
The recent collaboration between Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), SkillStorm (a tech talent accelerator), and KeyBank (one of the largest bank-based financial service companies in the United States) presents exciting opportunities for students and the Northeast Ohio community in both education and employment.
This year has been particularly favorable for Tri-C. In March 2023, KeyBank generously donated $2 million to the Tri-C Foundation to enhance accessibility and innovation in workforce training for community students. Subsequently, in August 2023, Tri-C announced its partnership with SkillStorm, a renowned global tech accelerator known for shaping aspiring professionals into leaders in high-demand tech careers. This collaboration opens up positions for Tri-C students in major tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft.
This partnership not only benefits students but also positions Northeast Ohio as a hub for industry and Tri-C as a high-quality academic institution that provides a skilled workforce. The commitment of these companies creates a brighter future through financial, educational, and professional alliances, offering numerous opportunities in Northeast Ohio.
Tri-C offers various Information Technology courses across different areas, such as business application software, computer networking, data analytics, digital marketing, information technology, and software development, available on all campuses. Additionally, since October 2012, a dedicated building has been constructed to facilitate advanced technology training. These programs and the training center continually prepare students to excel in the high-tech industry.
Dr. Charles Dull, Dean of the Information Technology Center, explains, “The KeyBank grant of $2 million to Cuyahoga Community College over eight years aims to ‘Reimagine Workforce Training Programs in Northeast Ohio.’ This partnership seeks to enhance Tri-C’s workforce programs, create new partnerships, and better serve our students and community, especially those in Cuyahoga County. One of the primary goals is to respond to the region’s urgent needs by developing ‘just-in-time’ curriculum and ensuring faculty industry experts are available to teach necessary courses.”
KeyBank has been a longstanding partner of Tri-C, dating back to September 2014 when the Tri-C Foundation dedicated the KeyBank Public Safety Training Center in recognition of KeyBank’s support for first responder training programs. The recent $2 million donation aims to support key areas of growth within Tri-C’s workforce training programs, including the Information Technology sector, making tuition more affordable for students and investing in the technology training center.
Meanwhile, Tri-C’s newest partnership with SkillStorm brings a company focused on accelerating opportunities in business goals and professional aspirations. SkillStorm helps align workforces, discover hidden tech experts, customize tech teams, and deploy talent. They work with authorized training partners and offer courses at various academic levels, including graduation and post-graduation. Tri-C joins an impressive list of educational partners that includes Florida State University, California State University, Louisiana State University, and now Cuyahoga Community College.
According to Mr. Eric Robertson, Senior Vice President of Upskilling at SkillStorm, “SkillStorm’s purpose is to accelerate opportunities across the country, and we noticed that Northeast Ohio’s tech industry is rapidly growing. In regions with rapid tech growth, employers often report talent gaps due to candidates lacking necessary skills. Our partnership with Tri-C aims to help Northeast Ohio close these talent gaps by providing easy access to our training courses. Tri-C offers various funding options for workforce development, covering most or all course fees, making tech training financially accessible. Many Tri-C students will benefit from this workforce development funding.”
The partnership between SkillStorm and Tri-C seeks to expand tech talent pipelines and offer credit-eligible courses to train individuals for positions in major tech companies. Mr. Robertson adds, “Currently enrolled Tri-C students and alumni are encouraged to use Ohio’s and Tri-C’s workforce development funding, including The Cuyahoga County Educational Assistance Program (CCEAP), Ohio Means Jobs, Tri-C Workforce Training Scholarships, and other options.” Two key programs, the Accelerator Program Overview and Credit for Prior Learning, provide valuable opportunities for students.
These investments and partnerships with KeyBank and SkillStorm not only guide information technology students toward successful careers but also promote diversity in the workforce. Dr. Dull emphasizes, “The generous donation by KeyBank will support Tri-C in building a diverse pipeline of workers ready for quality jobs in Cleveland. The pandemic widened the employment and earnings gap in Cleveland, and this grant allows the college to strengthen recruitment and retention efforts among underemployed and underrepresented individuals across key industries in Northeast Ohio.”
In conclusion, this is an exceptionally promising year for Cuyahoga College, its students, local businesses, and the community. To learn more about Tri-C’s and SkillStorm’s certification training courses, visit info.skillstorm.com/tri-c-certification-courses.