Upskill team members with Tech Credentials

What if I told you there was a low- or no-cost way to invest in your people and enhance your team’s productivity?

It sounds too good to be true. But it is available through Ohio’s Tech Credentials (TechCred) program. The program helps employers build a stronger workforce in a technology-infused economy and provides a path for team members to advance their careers. It takes a year or less to complete, and the training cost is reimbursed by the state.

As every business is becoming a tech-enabled business, and every job is becoming a tech job no matter the function, TechCred is an invaluable resource for business, personal and regional growth. Investing in your team is vital for businesses to continually adapt and grow, and to the region’s economic development as a whole.

Since launching, TechCred has supported more than 30,200 tech credentials for employees at more than 800 companies in the region. TechCred can help businesses and employees in traditional sectors such as manufacturing adapt to a tech-enabled future — and help Ohio manufacturers remain at the forefront of technology, able to compete on a global scale.

“The first thing I did was jump on the TechCred website and look at their pre-approved courses, and that’s how I found out they paid for SOLIDWORKS classes. I was able to upskill some of our production employees who had an affinity for computers and technical stuff, and get them on track to do more [of an engineering] role,” says Robert Guy, Controller at WLS Stamping & Fabricating Co.

Businesses from any industry can receive up to $30,000 per round and $180,000 per year in support. To be eligible, businesses must have a physical location in Ohio and have W-2 employees who live in Ohio. Companies are reimbursed up to $2,000 per credential when their team members complete an eligible tech-focused credential.

There are nearly 4,000 credentials available, including in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, robotics and automation, health care technology, manufacturing technology and construction technology. Top regional certifications include Data Analytics and CNC Machinist.

Don’t see the class your employees need? Businesses can submit a request to have a new credential added to the list. Eligible credential providers include universities, community colleges, technical centers and private training providers. Credentials can be earned online or in-person.

During the most recent round, 398 employers were approved for funding, and 5,925 tech-focused credentials were earned by Ohioans. With an eye on the future, AI was one of the most requested certifications.

“We wouldn’t be able to front $20,000 of professional development without the reimbursement,” says Michelle Tomallo, Fit Technologies co-founder and Chief People Officer. “When people are starting their careers, [advanced] roles may not be available; but the ability to utilize TechCred to show we value [employees] is fantastic. The diversity of what is offered is fantastic.”

The benefits of TechCred are measurable and powerful.

According to Dr. Michael Schoop, GCP’s Senior Vice President for Talent: “Tech Cred supports the specific and immediate needs of businesses.  Research has shown that customized training has about 10 times the ROI of any other investment in economic development.”

Technology is constantly transforming jobs, and it’s happening at a faster clip these days because of AI. Businesses and workers embracing programs such as TechCred will benefit themselves and help build a thriving region.

Baiju R. Shah is President & CEO of Greater Cleveland Partnership

Baiju R. Shah

President & CEO


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