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Cincinnati State joins minority business initiative

The Workforce Development Center at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College has been named the primary partner for workforce training and consulting services provided through a new initiative aimed at growing minority businesses in the region.

The initiative was announced in early October by the Ohio Department of Development and the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce.

Known as the Cincinnati Minority Business Development Organization, it represents an effort to give minority business owners a single access point for a variety of services they might need. They include:
• Business development training
• Business coaching
• Certification preparation
• Access to capital
• Corporate mentoring
• Networking

Helping to provide such services is where Cincinnati State comes in.

Its Workforce Development Center in Evendale, for example, specializes in providing business, governmental and private clients with training that is tailored to their needs.

The Workforce Development Center already offers a one-year certificate program in entrepreneurship that is designed for those who are trying to start their own businesses. It includes courses that cover the basics of sales, financial accounting, business planning, computerized bookkeeping and the like. Cincinnati State will draw on those resources to tailor programs that serve the needs of the Minority Business Development Organization.

The partnership will also include construction, LEED training, and, through Cincinnati State’s Midwest Culinary Institute, restaurant ownership/management training.

Because of its experience through the Workforce Development Center -- and because Cincinnati State has such a large co-op program, an extensive job-placement service and a strong array of business-oriented courses -- its staff and faculty have a real-world understanding of the particular challenges faced by small business owners, according to Dr. John Henderson, interim president of Cincinnati State.

Dr. Dennis Ulrich, executive director of the Workforce Development Center, said college officials have worked closely with Sean Rugless, president of the African American Chamber of Commerce, to ensure close alignment between the needs of minority entrepreneurs and the services Cincinnati State will provide.

“Our unique missions align very well and we are pleased to provide vital training and consulting services for member organizations of the Chamber,’’ Dr. Ulrich said. “For some time, Mr. Rugless, President Henderson and I have had exciting conversations and are of a single mind about the importance of forging this partnership and our ability to impact the business success of the membership through employee growth and development.’’

Cincinnati State’s Workforce Development Center is just one of the partners in the Cincinnati Minority Business Development Organization. Also participating are the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative, and the South Central Ohio Minority Business Council.

Rugless said one goal of the Cincinnati Minority Business Development Organization is to work with more than 150 minority businesses in two years, providing at least 1,500 hours of individual and group coaching.

About Cincinnati State

Cincinnati State offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs in business technologies, health and public safety, engineering technologies, humanity and sciences and information technologies. About 8,150 students were enrolled in the early fall 2008 term; last year 14,000 students participated in credit and non-credit classes.

Cincinnati State has a 93% placement rate within three months of graduation, and its students have a 91% pass rate on required licensing and registry exams. It has the largest co-op program among two-year colleges in the U.S.

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