Council Funds FastPath Program to Help Unemployed, Underemployed Residents
For Immediate Release
July 21, 2014
For More Information:
John Ivanic, City Council, 645-6798
Mayor’s office, 645-5300
Matt Smydo, Education Department, 645-1689
Columbus City Council has approved Mayor Coleman’s request for $1.5 million to support FastPath, a workforce development initiative first announced in February’s State of the City address. FastPath is a new effort led by Columbus State Community College that will focus on employing unemployed and underemployed adults.
Under FastPath, Columbus State will work with COWIC and other community partners and area employers to identify available jobs, develop work-based training for unemployed and underemployed adults, and place program participants in careers with participating local businesses.“We must close our skills gap by preparing our workforce for the jobs we have available in our community,” Mayor Coleman said. “I am grateful to Columbus State, COWIC and City Council for their leadership in meeting this challenge.”
The city’s investment in FastPath is a key piece of its investment in education, which has included the creation of the city’s Department of Education and the Early Start Columbus pre-K education program. To strengthen the city's commitment to workforce development, Columbus City Council has provided additional funding for other workforce initiatives such as the Cougar Bridge program. “The purpose of both Cougar Bridge and FastPath is to help our residents gain workforce development skills to prepare them for success in their education and careers,” said Councilmember Priscilla R. Tyson, chair of the Workforce Development Committee. “Through Cougar Bridge, participants will receive targeted remediation and counseling as well as college and career readiness programming. FastPath will go a step further in connecting residents with job opportunities through partnerships with specific employers.”
Columbus State will provide or coordinate several services, including recruitment, assessment, skills training, support services, job placement, job coaching, data collection, and a program assessment. Columbus State has extensive experience in providing work-based training programs and other supportive services to Columbus residents. It has relationships with community employers and stakeholders, and will work to leverage the city’s investment with additional funding from the private sector. The city and Columbus State are reaching out to stakeholders to recruit businesses and residents to launch FastPath.
“Investment in education is an investment in the future of Columbus,” said Councilmember Michelle M. Mills, chair of the Education Committee. “Our residents must be prepared for lifelong learning, so that our community may benefit from a better-trained workforce for decades to come.”