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Building a Brighter Future, Together

At Columbus State, we believe communities thrive when we all align behind a simple truth: Open access to high-quality, affordable education yields successful students who go on to land good jobs, build stable careers, lead fulfilling lives, and fuel strong businesses. That’s why we put student success at the center of everything we do. And we know we can’t do it alone. We're stronger in community.

With a profound commitment to access and equity, and an informed understanding of employer needs, we galvanize community partnerships that improve the quality of life and work in our region. From the education sector to employers, government, nonprofits, and civic organizations, our relationships are woven around the interests of our students — future and current — forming a strong community fabric that supports us all.

In the early phase of a global pandemic, Central Ohio voters looked forward and said yes to keeping Columbus State and the community strong by approving Issue 21. Now, with hope on the horizon, we’re building a brighter future, together, for our students and community. Read on to learn more and engage with us.

Student and Alumni Success

Columbus State is delivering on its promise to transform lives by creating multiple pathways to high-quality, affordable education and training that prepares students for sustainable careers and builds a diverse and talented workforce. We have pressed forward – leaning in to our mission, vision, and values – to innovate, partner, and support our students in new ways.

Over the course of 2021, Columbus State students have earned more than 2,700 associate degrees and nearly 2,900 industry-recognized certificates, positioning them to fill good-paying jobs in high-demand career fields and to pursue further higher education outcomes right now or whenever it’s right for them. CState graduates fuel growth industries like information technology, advanced manufacturing, supply chain management and logistics, engineering, construction and skilled trades, health sciences and more.

Our graduates also earn credentials in programs designed to prepare them to transfer to one of our four-year university partners to complete their bachelor’s degree in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields.

We’ve helped thousands more start or continue their college education in those same fields even as college enrollment has dropped nationwide, especially among students of color, women, and first-generation and low-income students. Through innovative pathways like College Credit Plus, work-study and apprenticeship learning models, relentless student support, and multiple modes of learning, students are moving forward by continuing their education at a fraction of the cost. Here are a few of our student and alumni success stories.

Success stories

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Workforce Innovation

As students increasingly choose education that leads directly to good careers, demand is growing for short-term, skills-based certificates and accelerated training programs in fields that offer career paths with well-paying jobs. Columbus State works directly with regional employers on our Workforce Advisory Council to identify market needs and adapt our programs accordingly.

  • Certificates help adult students start a new career, rejoin the workforce if they’ve lost their job, and get the promotion to take their career to the next level. And these certificate programs appeal to companies that need skilled employees to grow. Through flexible, short-term certificate programs, students can continually expand their career opportunities, pursue their professional goals, and keep their employers competitive. Learn More
  • Our new Accelerated Training Centers provide a free, non-credit option for adults who need an even faster track to steady employment and a living wage. We partnered with Dawson to provide 2-5 week programs in contact center, manufacturing and production, and logistics. Learn More

Success stories

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Spaces and Places

Columbus State is building a strong foundation for future growth in a post-pandemic world by envisioning campuses spaces and places designed for the future of work, education, and community.

Since voters approved Issue 21, we have put key pieces in place to refocus efforts on physical infrastructure investment at our downtown campus and other Franklin County locations. We are planning with new insight gleaned from the revolution we’ve all experienced during the pandemic in instructional delivery, in the workplace, and in our culture. 

  • We’re strengthening our core by completing deferred maintenance projects before they become more expensive, creating gathering spaces, increasing accessibility and inclusion in our buildings, and better integrating campus edges with the community.
  • We’ve made college work and instructional spaces more flexible to support in-person and remote interaction equally well.
  • We’re assembling a coalition of resource partners, grounded in community and equity, to help us reassess and re-envision where needed to make sure our plans will meet emerging education, work, and societal needs. We will partner with the Columbus office of AECOM team and other nationally recognized firms with Columbus operations in implementation plan development: MKSK, Moody-Nolan, Elford Construction, DLZ Engineers, and Warhol & Wall St. 
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Arts, Culture, and Education Events

Columbus State reflects the vibrance of Columbus’s creativity, diversity, and culture. Throughout the year, we gather to celebrate, create, learn, challenge, and reflect on how we can become a stronger, brighter community together. We offer myriad educational opportunities for our community. And our beautiful facilities and conference spaces are the ideal place to hold your next event. Check out our recordings of annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week of Celebration, Women’s HERstory Month, and Writers Conference for a sampling of what to expect from next year’s celebration. Explore other opportunities to take a class, improve your language skills, or sign your teen up for a summer camp that will introduce potential career pathways through fun, hands-on learning experiences.

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K-12, University, and Educator Resources

We are driven by an uncompromising commitment to teaching, learning, and the success of every student. This commitment motivates us to innovate and discover new best practices together with partners across the education continuum. Alongside our colleagues in K-12 districts, universities, and public and private sectors, we ask complex questions about equity, access, college readiness, early college access, career exploration, and more. We test and implement new approaches to improve teaching and learning and support full participation of all students in high-quality education that leads to good jobs, sustainable careers, social mobility, and generational opportunity. Then we share what we’ve learned so others can replicate the work in their own schools and communities throughout Ohio and the United States. Explore some of our toolkits, white papers, learning communities, and other resources.

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Individual and Economic Impact

For decades, Columbus State has worked at the intersection of K-12, government, community, and the employers that drive our economy. Listening, understanding, earning trust, and mining data, the College has engineered and incubated solutions with its partners to effect positive change to persistent community problems. This positions us uniquely to help individuals and the regional economy recover from the short- and long-term effects of the pandemic, which has widened opportunity gaps in education attainment and the workforce, and disproportionately set back people of color, women, and the poor. Together with our public and private partners, we have launched launch several ambitious programs to create new, innovative ways to drive regional economic recovery and development:

  • Reclaim Your Future provides adult students with no prior college experience one year of fully-funded 2021-2022 school year tuition to support them in continuing their education at a critical time of workforce disruption.
  • Forward Together offers an intensive, no-cost guided higher education pathway for 2021 area high school graduates designed to overcome the challenges of lost time in career or college readiness and exploration.
  • Accelerated Training Centers bring un- and underemployed people short-term, no-cost job skills training through the launch of neighborhood-based centers in 2022.
  • Reconnect gives recent students with at least 30 credit hours who left school in 2020 degree-completion tuition funding to support them over the finish line.
  • Spring 2022 Columbus City Schools graduates will be the first to have a guaranteed tuition-free path to a college degree or certificate at Columbus State through the Columbus Promise, a partnership between the City of Columbus, I Know I Can, Columbus City Schools, and Columbus State. In addition to full financial support, Columbus Promise Scholars will benefit from special advisors, academic coaches, dedicated space, and more. While Columbus Promise is launching in its first phase for Columbus City Schools graduates, the initiative is anticipated to expand and grow to include more area high school graduates after the program is up and running.
  • In response to the Recovery and Resiliency Advisory Committee recommendations, the College partnered with the City of Columbus to begin offering fully-funded credentialing education for professional child care workers in 2022. CState also is committing to area child care provider workforce talent acquisition support and on-campus daycare to improve downtown child care access.

In addition, Columbus State has consistently and proactively administered relief grant support for continuing students in financial need to help them persist through completion in 2020 and 2021.

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