LIMA — For years, employers have talked of their struggles to recruit skilled workers. A new engineering program at The Ohio State University-Lima is trying to address that problem by building a talent pipeline of engineers trained for the manufacturing world, right here at home.
The program, which welcomed its first cohort of students last fall, combines several engineering disciplines and hands-on production experience necessary for students who may one day engineer those tools and workplaces.
“We need a way to incentivize our talent from Northwest and West Central Ohio to come here,” said Dr. Tim Rehner, dean and director of The Ohio State University-Lima. “If they go to Columbus, we all know it happens. They rarely come back. So, the more we can offer here, the more we can be the destination and better the odds that we keep our great talent right here.”
Husky Lima Refinery on Thursday donated $25,000 toward engineering technology scholarships for students on Ohio State’s Lima campus, starting at $1,000 per qualifying student.
The refinery employs engineers to oversee process controls and supervise maintenance groups, among other roles, according to Jon Horn, a senior human resources manager for Husky Lima Refinery, which prompted the company to invest in a program that trains students who are already based in the Lima region.
“We want to remind the young people around here about the significant opportunities that they have near their hometowns,” Horn said.
The Lima campus is one of three Ohio State regional campuses offering the engineering technology program, which was designed to meet the evolving needs of the manufacturing industry by focusing on technological skills like industrial robotics and electrical processes in addition to traditional engineering coursework.
“That was in response to manufacturers saying: we don’t have the kind of engineers we need, which are really engineers focused on production,” Rehner said.
Rather than train students to focus on making one thing, Rehner said, the engineering technology program adapts its curriculum from industrial, civil and other engineering disciplines so students can design assembly lines and make production work.