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Layoff leads to new path

It’s not easy starting something new.  Ron Hedrick was recently laid off after nearly 30 years at the Rolls Royce plant in Mount Vernon.  He knew his next step was to get an education.

Immediately after high school, Hedrick went into the workforce.  When the announcement came that the plant would be closing, he needed to find another path.  That is when he chose North Central State College.  “With my background working in the auto industry, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in business management.

“My history and 28 years of working on the floor at an auto plant just transferred over into the business atmosphere,” he says.  “The classes I am taking are formulated based on what the business needs are for the community.  Whatever I am learning in the classroom today, I can take out to the marketplace tomorrow and become successful.”

On his first day, he sat excitedly in his first class.  What happened next still makes him laugh, “I was sitting there dressed up, just as an old-style student used to go to class the first day.  Then more students began to walk into class.  You could imagine my surprise when they turned to me and asked if they had assigned seats.  They thought I was the instructor.”

However, Hedrick did not blame them and was not surprised.  “I never thought I would be a 50-year-old man returning to college after being in the workforce,” he explained.  “I pretty much saw the first building put up on campus.”

“The atmosphere at NC State is awesome,” Hedrick said.  “The faculty, students, and leadership are all about helping others hone their skills.  So when we go into the community we can be successful within any job we find.”

He says his favorite role model is English associate professor Beth Franz.  “The first essay that I wrote for her class, there was more red ink on it than I had pencil on the paper,” Hedrick laughs.  “However, her support and dedication allowed me to be successful.”

With the help of Franz and other instructors, Hedrick says he was able to make his goal of being named to the dean’s list.  He also belongs to the two honor societies at the college as well as TRIO student support services.

Hedrick says his biggest accomplishment is yet to come.  “The greatest opportunity is to be a part of this upcoming graduating class,” he exclaims.  “I’ve created so many friendships.  The students that attend this college have a purpose; to grow and make our community better off from what was yesterday to today.”

Hedrick plans to walk across the stage to get his diploma this May.

Alumna goes from CCP to Lawyer

Getting an early start on your college education can lead to great things, including a successful career.  That was the case for Jennifer Harmon who began her college career at North Central State College and worked her way through law school at The Ohio State University to become a lawyer in Richland County.

She began as a College Credit Plus student from 2011-2013.  She was able to start her college class while she was still in high school.  “The flexibility as a high school student, who always had to be at school at 7:30 a.m., made taking classes at NC State College very appealing,” Harmon explains.  “It was very exciting to have the ability to make my schedule.”

In the CCP program, students in grades 7-12 can take courses at Ohio Public Colleges at no cost earning both high school and college credit.  Funding is also provided to private and home school students.  The CCP classes are offered at local high school as well as on the North Central State College campus or online.

It wasn’t only the scheduling that made her enjoy her time on campus, but also the fact that she was able to begin college classes before most of her high school classmates.

“NC State was incredibly important to the development of my life and career.  It afforded me the opportunity to obtain an associate degree prior to graduating high school,” Harmon says.  “Because of that, I was able to finish my bachelor’s in business administration at Ohio State in two years and then graduate from law school in 2018.  That’s the year I would have been starting it in the first place.”

Harmon was surprised by the class she enjoyed most on campus.   “English composition, with professor Thomas Shields,” she exclaims.  “He was an incredible teacher who advanced my writing abilities beyond what I would have thought possible.”  She attributes many of her successes in legal writing due to the fact that Shields established an incredibly strong foundation for her writing skills.

Harmon’s goal wasn’t always to practice law, instead, she wanted to be a business owner.  “My initial goal starting out was to graduate with an MBA/JD and had planned to start my own business.  After I began law school, I realized I wanted to practice law, focusing on business law, sales, and contracts as well as criminal defense,” Harmon says.  “I chose to forget the additional year for the MBA and opted for a year of experience as an attorney instead.

Harmon now practices law in downtown Mansfield at JRH Law, Ltd. She chose to return to the Mansfield area to be closer to friends and family.  She says North Central State College also felt like home to her.  She encourages anyone looking to enhance their education to take a sincere look at the campus.

“NC State is the starting point for a lot of careers, and that is fantastic.  I am a big proponent of the practical training and certifications also offered.  When I began as a high school student, I was in a position where I wanted to eventually have a professional degree.  Students need to realize that at any point in their life, no matter what the circumstances are, by having an associate degree, you are setting yourself up to be in the best possible position.”


Convenience is Key for Online Classes

Online classes give students the freedom to schedule class work on their own time.  That’s why Mikayla Johnson, a business administration student, first became interested in classes online at North Central State College.

“I had my daughter at a young age,” she explains.  “When I thought about college it was on the back burner.  Then I just decided it’s time to do something for me because doing something for me is doing something for her in the long run.”

“I would recommend taking online classes at North Central because it revolves around your schedule.  You can take classes on your time,” Johnson says.

North Central’s online degrees and certificates are designed for students with busy schedules so they can take the step toward a future without sacrificing the things most important to them.  Online classes are taught by the same faculty who teach our traditional classroom-based courses.

Students also have access to tutoring and career services on campus.  “Even though I don’t want to go to a normal college setting and go to class every day, I still want the convenience of going to the tutoring center or the library,” Johnson says.  “I also get invited to the events going on around campus.”

Financial aid is also available for online students.  About 72% of North Central students received grants and scholarships during the 2017-18 school year and many had their costs reduced significantly.

Interns Gain Valuable Skills

Alyvia Erow sits at a computer in a lab in the Kehoe Center.

NAME: Alyvia Erow
MAJOR: Accounting
INTERNSHIP: Foos-Garvin Accounting LLP

Alyvia Erow began classes in the fall of 2017 at North Central State College after attending Fredericktown High School.  She accepted a position as an intern at Foos-Garvin Accounting LLP to gain experience in the accounting industry. That’s where she believes she found her future career.  Foos-Garvin Accounting, located in Galion, provides professional tax and bookkeeping services.

“I learned a great deal about the tax world, like what forms need to be used and why,” Erow explains.  “I wanted to get my feet wet.  Instead of just sitting in a classroom and learning about accounting, I was able to gain hands-on experience at the business.”

“It is a little bit scary at first.  I was very nervous when I went to Foos-Garvin my first time but after a couple of weeks I started to really enjoy my position,” Erow says.

For other students who may be thinking about participating in the internship program, Erow recommends,   “Ask questions.  Don’t feel like you know everything when you walk in there, because there is so much to learn.  The businesses and employees are there to help you with your experience.  Everyone at Foos-Garvin was very helpful in answering every question I had.”

Erow graduated with her degree in accounting in May 2019 and plans to return to Foos-Garvin for the tax season.


Jaylin Beebe poses with her Rain Drop Products, LLC shirt where she recently got a full time position.


NAME: Jaylin Beebe
MAJOR: Business Management
INTERNSHIP: Rain Drop Products, LLC

Jaylin Beebe knew she needed more experience in her field to help her get a job after graduation.

Luckily while at the North Central State College Career and Job Fair, she was able to meet representatives from Rain Drop Products, LLC in Ashland.  As an intern, she worked with the Marketing Department on projects as well as helped update the website to help with information for clients and future customers.

Rain Drop Products manufactures water playground equipment, water slides, water structures and custom designed water parks for Spraygrounds, amusement water theme parks, and public swimming pools.

“It was a great experience for me.  I learned what it’s like to work at a business, while I was able to still learn about the business world,” Beebe explains.  “Rain Drop was exactly what I was looking for in my future career.  It was definitely a trial and error experience, but it was worth every minute.”

Beebe graduated with her degree in business management in May 2019. Raindrop offered Beebe a full-time position following her internship with the company.


Cedria Howell poses in the hall of the Kehoe Center in Shelby.


NAME: Cedria Howell
MAJOR: Business Management
INTERNSHIP: Destination Mansfield

Cedria Howell has a hunger for knowledge.  It’s her drive that brought her to an internship at Destination Mansfield.   As a graduate of Mansfield Senior High School, she was already familiar with the Mansfield area and what it has to offer. Destination Mansfield generates money for the local economy through tourism across Mansfield/Richland County.

“I loved being an intern because I wanted the knowledge of what it takes to be successful in a career,” Howell says.  “I was able to learn the economic as well as the marketing side of running a successful business like Destination Mansfield.”

Participating in the internship program is a must, according to Howell.  “I would recommend finding an internship closely related to your major.  It will help you in the long run because businesses are more likely to hire you after graduating because you are already equipped with the knowledge that is useful to that particular business. I would definitely tell everybody that if the college offers internships, take advantage of it.”

Howell will return to North Central State College for the fall 2019 semester.

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Grant Supports Foster Youth

North Central State College is one of 19 colleges and universities across Ohio, working to improve the success rates of youth as they transition from the foster care system, into higher education. These institutions will share grant funding designed to help students from the foster care system pursue their dreams of higher.

The Short-Term Certificate Foster Youth Grant equally divides a statewide total of $385,000 in short-term certificate funding to help students from foster care earn credentials and certificates that will help them achieve their academic and career goals.

“My vision for all young Ohioans is the same I have for my own children and grandchildren – that they have the opportunity to live up to their potential and achieve their dreams,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “This grant will help foster youth have the opportunity to earn the certificates and credentials required by many in-demand jobs. I thank Chancellor Gardner for making this funding available and for his assistance in helping students reach their goals.”

The grant dollars will provide financial support for eligible students to allow them to complete a short-term certificate program. The programs are designed to take less than one year, but can provide the skills and knowledge to help students get a jump on a successful future.

“Supporting foster youth and families is a priority of Governor DeWine’s administration, and I’m pleased that we are able to provide some additional support to help our higher education partners assist students who have been in foster care programs,” said Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner. “These grants can make a difference in the lives of students who deserve our best efforts.”

Tom Prendergast, vice president of student services at NC State recently convened local service providers. “The response from area organizations serving the needs of foster children was amazing. More than 40 people attended our first meeting to discuss how we might encourage them to attend college. This grant will serve as seed money for an effort we intend to lead as an ongoing process to encourage these youth toward a certificate or degree that will provide them with a rewarding career.”

May is National Foster Care Month, a time to renew the commitment to ensuring a bright future for the thousands of children and youth in foster care across the country.

Colleges and universities interested in receiving the funds were asked to submit a plan of how the funding would be used along with a list of targeted credentials.

Partner Institutions receiving this grant include:

  • Belmont College
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Central Ohio Technical College
  • Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
  • Cleveland State University
  • Columbus State Community College
  • Cuyahoga Community College
  • Eastern Gateway Community College
  • Hocking College
  • Lorain County Community College
  • Marion Technical College
  • North Central State College
  • Rhodes State College
  • Sinclair Community College
  • Southern State Community College
  • Stark State College
  • Terra State Community College
  • Wright State University


Producing Powerful Women Engineers

Only about 5.8% of engineers in the United States are women.  That’s a statistic that helps motivate Emily Keller, a manufacturing technology operations management (MTOM) student at North Central State College.

While working at a local factory she admired the work being done on large machines by the engineers.  “After I had my daughter, I went back to working second shift and worked alongside some of the engineers in the factory,” Keller explains.  “Watching them work and how they operated, fascinated me.”

Keller, a single mom, knew she wanted a better life that would provide her with the training she needed to make her goals a reality.  She enrolled in classes at North Central State College and has been working towards that goal ever since.

“The classes I have taken so far have been amazing.  I’ve learned how to read blue prints, how to use a 3-D printer, and so many other skills I need for my future career,” Keller says.  “I’ve learned so much about software and how the machines work.”

Women remain underrepresented in the science and engineering workforce, although to a lesser degree than in the past, with the greatest disparities occurring in engineering, computer science, and the physical sciences.

Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce.  Female scientists and engineers are concentrated in different occupations than men, with relatively high shares of women in the social sciences (62%) and biological, agricultural, and environmental life sciences (48%) and relatively low shares in engineering (15%) and computer and mathematical sciences (25%).

As for being a woman in a predominately male career path, Keller says she sees it as an advantage.  “I have a lot of classes where I am the ONLY female in my class,” Keller says.  “I would tell any female looking into being a part of the MTOM major to not be afraid.  Trust your gut.  You can do anything you put your mind to, whether it’s a male dominated career or not.  I believe I have found my true passion.”

Nearly 100% of NC State graduates in this field are employed.  There is a growing need for graduates with drafting and design skills.  The MTOM program teaches hands on skills that employers need.

Beginning in fall 2019, students may also enroll to complete the Bachelor of Applied Science Mechanical Engineering Technology, the first bachelor’s program approved for NC State College.  The coursework continues the hands-on learning concepts developed in partnership with area businesses.

“I was very interested in engineering.  If you have that motivation, pursue it,” Keller encourages.  “There are so many people at North Central State College that will help you get through it and help you succeed.  Once you make those connections, especially at this college, they are for life.”

Kehoe Grand Prix

Five teams of students enrolled in the College-NOW engineering Academy put their capstone projects on the road this morning at the Kehoe Center in Shelby – literally – competing in the Kehoe Grand Prix.

Each team has been building an electric vehicle throughout the year. They began by researching and designing the types of vehicles they might want to build, including frame, steering, braking, gearing, power and drive options – and the optimal combination to provide the best overall performance and energy efficiency.

The Kehoe Grand Prix was designed as an endurance race with a one-hour time limit. Each team’s vehicle, driven by team members, navigated a five turn circuit laid out in the parking lot at the Kehoe Center. The team completing the most laps in 60 minutes was the Mario Cart team of Caleb Butler, Noah Blum, Spencer Welch and Mayalana Wilson. They completed 6X laps in their vehicle.

“It’s been a great experience,” Welch says.  “Even if you don’t go into engineering, which a lot of us are doing, this program has prepared us for this task.  It’s 100% worth it.”

Four of the five vehicles finished the entire hour of racing. The fifth was sidelined early with a mechanical failure.

Dr. Dorey Diab, president of North Central State College was present for the event, “This is a terrific example of what we do here at NC State. These students, who are all still in high school, combined their study of numerous engineering concepts to build vehicles powered by batteries that just ran for more than an hour. This is a great moment for them as they complete their education in College-NOW. I look forward to handing them their college diploma next month from NC State, even before they graduate with their high school diploma.”