AKRON, Ohio – Stark State College will open an education and workforce training center in Akron, offering the first two-year degree programs in the county.
Stark State College in North Canton offers two-year associate degrees and certification programs. It has a satellite campus in Barberton that offers classes leading to an associate degree on the main campus.
The college announced plans for Stark State College Akron on Thursday with officials from Akron, Summit County and the Greater Akron Chamber.
Stark State and the city signed a letter of understanding to enter into a lease-purchase agreement for 11 acres along Ohio 8 at the Perkins Street exit.
The college will pay $47,469 each year for 20 years, for a total purchase price of $949,380 for the city-owned property.
The state is providing $6.5 million in capital funding for the project, including $500,000 in community capital funds, requested for the project by the Greater Akron Chamber and approved by the General Assembly.
Stark State’s board has set aside $5 million in college reserves to fund the Akron project, the college said.
“Stark State College Akron will provide affordable, quality associate degrees and certificates that lead to careers in high-growth, high-demand fields to benefit students, businesses and greater Akron communities,” Stark State president Para Jones said in a release.
Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan said in a statement that the partnership will provide “a means for all residents in our community to get the training and education they need to be lifted up to a better quality of life.”
The University of Akron, within walking distance of Stark State College Akron, offers associate degrees at its main campus and at Wayne College in Orrville. At this weekend’s commencement, 335 of the 3,016 degrees awarded will be two-year degrees, an official said.
UA does not offer traditional workforce training available at community colleges.
Lawrence Burns, the university’s vice president for advancement, sees the new college as a partner, not a competitor.
“We welcome them to the neighborhood and the ideal situation is to develop a 2 plus 2 program where they students get an associate degree there and come to us for a bachelor’s degree,” he said.
Stark State said it has been serving Akron and Summit County students and businesses for decades. The college is currently working with ConxusNEO/Ohio Means Jobs on new educational and training pathways to prepare underserved residents for information technology openings in the region.
“We have strong educational partnerships with Akron Public Schools, Summit County Schools, Summit Education Initiative, the University of Akron, Kent State University and others,” Jones said in a statement.
The college is seeking potential locations to offer courses in Akron while the facility is under construction. Prospective students can find information at starkstate.edu/akron.
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Farkas, Karen. (2016, May 12). Stark State College to build campus in Akron. Retrieved from http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2016/05/stark_state_college_to_open_ca.html.