Fostoria plans for learning center

FOSTORIA – Fostoria Economic Development Corp. is considering establishment of a post-secondary education facility in Fostoria.

A feasibility study, done by Gateway Consultants Group and completed in January, helped assess the viability of a learning center in Fostoria offering a variety of credit and non-credit programs.

The Learning Center model addresses community and wider regional needs with respect to degree attainment, expanded workforce training and community outreach services, FEDC Executive Director Joan Reinhard said.

“The general scope of the market analysis and feasibility study focused on identifying higher education and workforce training needs, determining the potential student pool for both credit and non-credit programs, exploring the potential availability and kinds of resource support and, assessing the feasibility of a comprehensive plan for increasing education attainment,” Reinhard said. “Education is one of the FEDC’s program initiatives; the Learning Center model will provide the programs needed to increase degree attainment in support of business and industry and thus enhance Fostoria’s ability to develop economically.”

The center will work in conjunction with two- and four-year institutions to enhance and promote academic life, Reinhard said.

She said high school graduates

may not be fully equipped with technical skills required for an entry level position.

“In addition to traditional college credit classes and workforce development, we are looking to create opportunities for lifelong learning, including early childhood development, literacy, post-high school remediation, and family workshops to prepare students for college life,” Reinhard said.

FEDC is working toward offering two classes initially: a commercial driver’s license program and the iSTAR database programming class. Reinhard said there is high demand for CDL drivers and people completing database training are often placed with an employer soon after completing the coursework. Both classes are 14-16 weeks and are fully credited.

Retired Superintendent of Fostoria City Schools Steven Pritts will be aiding in getting the center operational, Reinhard said.

“Pritts will be at the forefront of the Learning Center project. Steve will assist with developing a preliminary program for the Center, garnering community support and identifying resources necessary to move the project forward. He will work closely with the Ohio Board of Regents and work to identify the initial members of a P-16 council for the center,” Reinhard said.

The council would identify gaps in education from preschool through post-secondary education, she said.