A new Ohio College Apprenticeship Consortium, which includes Stark State College, aims to help students more easily pursue careers in well-paying industries that need workers.

Stark State College is partnering with the largest apprenticeship program in the region to help students more easily pursue careers in well-paying industries that need workers and to do it without taking on a ton of college debt.

The Ohio College Apprenticeship Consortium, which includes Stark State, ApprenticeOhio and nine other community colleges, will provide tuition reimbursement to participating students for completing pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs in occupations identified by local businesses as needing workers. The consortium is being funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, according to a news release.

The community colleges will offer the classroom instruction, and the employers will provide the on-the job training and wages to participating students. The apprentice programs range from advanced manufacturing, computer programming, construction, health care and business services.

"We remain convinced here that apprenticeships are an outstanding way to educate and prepare students for the workforce," Stark State President Para Jones recently told the college’s trustees.

Jones said the partnership could significantly increase the amount of apprentices at the college, which already provides classroom instruction for roughly a dozen manufacturers, including The Timken Co., Arconic and Ariel.

Stark State spokeswoman Robyn Steinmetz said the college currently is accepting additional apprenticeship partners. She said anyone interested in pursuing a partnering should contact Donald Ball, dean of engineering technologies. She said Stark State is targeting a potential spring 2018 launch.

Besides Stark State, the other participating educational institutions include Columbus State Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, Edison State Community College, Lorain County Community College, Marion Technical College, North Central State College, Rhodes State College, Sinclair Community College and Washington State Community College.

ApprenticeOhio, which is managed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, ranks second in the nation and first in the region in the number of apprentices. More than 19,000 registered apprentices are working in Ohio, in more than 200 occupations.

For more information, visit Apprentice.Ohio.gov.