Nine public colleges and universities in northeast Ohio have teamed up to create a consortium agreement to improve efficiency and effectiveness, strengthen educational offerings, provide collaborative pathways to degrees and support the region’s workforce.
The agreement — known as the Northeast Ohio Regional Higher Education Compact — brings together Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), Kent State University, Lakeland Community College, Lorain County Community College, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Stark State College, the University of Akron and Youngstown State University.
Presidents from the institutions met on Wednesday at Tri-C for the official signing of the agreement.
“A sense of urgency drives this collaborative effort to help the residents of Northeast Ohio gain the education and skills needed for well-paying, meaningful jobs,” Tri-C President Alex Johnson said in a press release. “As these stalwart institutions find new ways to work together, we become better positioned to improve student outcomes and expand opportunity for our region.”
The action aligns with an Ohio Revised Code requirement for a signed agreement from the institutions — along with annual reports to John Carey, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education — on the efficiencies gained as a result of the consortium.
“This significant collaboration between our colleges and universities in northeast Ohio aligns with the priority that Gov. (John) Kasich has given to connect higher education and workforce development,” Carey said. “I know it will lead to greater student success and the continued development of a skilled workforce for this region and beyond.”
The compact aims to create strong pathways from K-12 to higher education while lowering the overall cost of pursuing a degree in the region through high-quality educational offerings.
“I look forward to working together with my colleagues from across Northeast Ohio to provide high-quality educational opportunities for our communities,” said Kent State President Beverly J. Warren. “We are committed to student success and affordable options that put the finish line — a college degree or certificate — in reach of all. This effort will help foster an Ohio workforce prepared to contribute and make a difference at every level.”
Among its goals, the compact aims to:
- Reduce administrative costs and create operational efficiencies.
- Examine whether unnecessary duplication of academic programming exists among the consortium.
- Develop strategies to address the workforce education needs of the region.
- Enhance the sharing of resources, such as courses, curriculum and programs.
- Minimize the time required to earn a degree.
- Examine how to allow graduates of Ohio technical centers to obtain college technical credit hours toward a degree.
- Enhance career counseling and experiential learning opportunities through partnerships, co-ops, internships and workshops.
After one year, members of the compact will send a report to state leaders outlining the group’s progress.