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Academic Excellence and Workforce Readiness At Tri-C

For many college grads, the search for employment can be fraught with uncertainty. Not so for graduates of Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio. With 90 percent of its career program graduates employed upon graduation, Tri-C prides itself on marrying top-notch academics with a focus on workforce readiness.

Award-Winning Tri-C Programs

Tri-C’s cornerstone program—The Centers of Excellence—consists of six discipline programs designed specifically with the needs of area employers in mind: nursing, creative arts, public safety, hospitality management, information technology, and manufacturing. William Gary, executive vice president of Tri-C’s workforce, community, and economic development division, says this focus on job readiness “is unique to Tri-C, and unique among colleges in Ohio. These six programs cover almost every major sector of our region where job opporunities continue to expand.”

The Centers of Excellence program is clearly in demand: In just the past four years, the number of certifications awarded has grown from 600 to over 16,000. In 2017, the college won the prestigious Bellwether award in recognition of its impact on growing the local economy. (This nationally recognized award for college excellence was the first for any community college in Ohio.)

A Focus on Tech

Tri-C stands apart from other higher learning institutes in its ability to change rapidly as industries evolve. “We are very nimble when it comes to programming,” says Gary, particularly with regard to the college’s Information Technology department.

“We can change a lot more quickly than four-year institutions because we are able to address emergent technology,” says Kathleen Tamerlano, associate professor at the IT Center for Excellence. The most sought-after IT degree and certificate programs include cybersecurity, data analytics, and cutting-edge “blockchain” programming. And Tri-C students get to put their skills to work with companies like Apple, Microsoft, and IBM.

Tamerlano also notes that the IT faculty is focused on helping students decide what career pathway is right for them and whether to choose between the two-year associate degree or four-year bachelor’s degree program. “The professors have a longstanding relationship with industry partners,” she says, with representatives from Northeast Ohio companies sitting on the department’s board and helping to shape the IT program.

Warm Community Atmosphere

Nathan Cabot studies electrical engineering at Tri-C through the IT program and is working toward professional certifications in computer network hardware. He also has an internship with a prestigious law firm, where he hopes to land a full-time job after he completes his degree.

But the experience has been more than a means to an affordable college education. (Cabot completed most of his A.A. degree before he graduated high school.) Cabot says the warm community atmosphere at Tri-C is what stands out.

“Tri-C is kind of like a second family,” says Cabot. “There are always people around doing the same thing you do, so you can always work together.”

Professors, guidance counselors, and career counselors are accessible at all times, Cabot says, and the many student lounges scattered throughout campus allow students to connect with one another easily. “A lot of times classmates turn into real friends and not just classmates,” he says.

Why Choose Tri-C?

The ideal prospective Tri-C student, says Gary, is one who is “wrestling with whether to enter into the workforce or work toward a degree.” But the beauty of the Tri-C model is that students can choose either—or both. With over 1,000 courses in 140 different career program areas, there is a pathway for everyone.

  • Founded: 1963
  • Undergraduates: 55,000
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 15.8:1
  • Average Class Size: 16
  • Majors/Minors: 190+
  • Sports: NJCAA/Ohio Community College Athletic Conference
  • Application Deadline: Enrollment periods offered throughout the year
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