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RAPIDS Award Enhances Advanced Training in Manufacturing

$213,888 state grant will be used to purchase new VR design/prototyping system

Students at Cleveland State University will be able to enhance their education and job preparedness in advanced manufacturing thanks to a new grant awarded by the State of Ohio. The Department of Higher Education’s Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program has awarded CSU $213,888 to purchase an immersive virtual reality system for use in engineering design and prototyping. The new equipment will expand education and professional development on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing, while also providing an innovative, immersive learning tool for engineering students.

Governor Mike DeWine, Chancellor Randy Gardner and the Ohio legislature targeted $8 million in the most recent state operating budget to assist Ohio’s public universities, community colleges, and career technical centers in offering the most up-to-date education possible in an effort to provide a skilled workforce for in-demand jobs.

“The RAPIDS program awards offer a unique opportunity for Ohio’s postsecondary educational institutions and employers to help address local workforce needs,” says Governor DeWine. “Students are able to gain access to top-notch equipment that helps better prepare them for available jobs.” 

Cleveland State will utilize the VR system, which will be housed in the Dan T. Moore Maker Space in the Washkewicz College of Engineering, to provide students with new ways to visualize and interact with course curricula, develop familiarity with current state-of-the-art digital design tools and expand skill sets that can translate directly to Ohio’s health care and smart manufacturing ecosystems. 

“This equipment will support competency-based workforce training and ‘virtual apprenticeships’ that will assist in expanding regional knowledge in digital design and advanced manufacturing,” notes Dr. Jerzy Sawicki, Vice President for Research at CSU. “It will also enhance our applied research efforts that support Northeast Ohio’s companies as they move into the Industry 4.0 paradigm.”

RAPIDS grants are used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for use in education and training programs specific to regional workforce needs. Equipment is often shared among campuses, allowing more students get a quality education more affordably. Additional regional universities that received funds as part of the program include Cuyahoga Community College and Lorain County Community College.