Ottawa County Receives $1.5 million to Expand Workforce Programs

Posted on: July 5, 2024

On June 29th, the Ohio State Senate appropriated $700 million in projects included in SB 288 that will fund initiatives across the state through this one-time Strategic Community Investments fund.

One of these projects is $1.5M for expansion of the Ottawa County Skilled Trades Academy and Healthcare Careers Academy, which are both administered by the Ottawa County Business Advisory Council (OCBAC). State Representative DJ Swearingen (R-Huron) and Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) were instrumental in helping to secure these funds to expand these local workforce initiatives.

Students of the Skilled Trades Academy at their graduation ceremony held on May 23rd.

Formed in 2019, the Ottawa County Skilled Trades Academy (STA) is a comprehensive, credit-based skilled trades program for high school seniors and is certified by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC). Students receive classroom instruction and participate in hands-on lab activities, earning additional certificates such as OSHA 10-Hour, Welding and Forklift Training. The Healthcare Careers Academy (formerly the STNA Program) was developed in 2022 to expose Ottawa County high school seniors to healthcare opportunities and train them in practical skills. Beginning in the Fall 2025, the OCBAC will welcome a new program and first of its kind, state-recognized curriculum for the hospitality and tourism industry: Hospitality & Tourism Academy.

Creating a sustainable workforce pipeline for existing and future businesses is a critical component to economic and community development.  The industry sectors we have targeted are in high demand, not just within our county, but regionally. The initial funding and support we have received to launch these programs is simply incredible and will not be forgotten.” said Chris Singerling, Executive Director of the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation.

Since 2018, these programs have received over $120,000 from the Ottawa County Community Foundation to continue to move the initiatives of the OCBAC forward along with continued support from Ottawa County Department of Job and Family Services (OCDJFS). Through our new partnership with Vanguard Sentinel Career and Technology Center, the programs will also be receiving an additional $600,000 for new equipment.

The collaboration between our 6 school districts and business community provides real-world learning opportunities for our students, allowing a bright future for our workforce.

Graduates of the STNA and STA program awaiting their certificates.

“Providing our young adults the opportunity to enter our local workforce, trained and certified, benefits not just our employers, but our communities as well. We believe the positive lasting impact on our businesses and communities when the students live, work and play here are immeasurable,” said Katherine Adams, Workforce and Career Exploration Manager for the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation.

The Ottawa County Business Advisory Council is administered by the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation and meets regularly with our school districts, businesses and community partners to strengthen their relationships for the benefit of our communities and county. For more information, please visit