City Partners with Lorain County Community College To Provide Industry Certificates to Residents


Photo courtesy of Lorain County Community College

Lorain County Community College is working with the City of Oberlin to offer certificates for residents.

In an emergency vote on Sept. 19, Oberlin City Council allocated $51,000 to provide Oberlin residents with access to educational opportunities at Lorain County Community College, located in Elyria. The funds were acquired from the $429,427 the City received from the American Rescue Plan Act. Through the Oberlin Social Equity and Skill Development Promise, the tuition and additional costs of the FastTrack program at LCCC are completely covered for Oberlin residents accepted into the program. Residents have the ability to complete 16- and 32-week courses in high-demand fields. Once completed, residents will be given industry certificates in sectors such as health care, engineering, manufacturing, and business. 

Applicants need to be at least 17 years of age, have earned a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and reside in Oberlin to enter the program. The majority of students enrolled are women between the ages of 24–35, with many students being Black and Latinx. More than half of the students in the FastTrack program stay after their first semester. City Councilmember Eboni Johnson feels that the program is a positive development for the community. 

“I think this is a unique opportunity for Oberlin residents to gain skills for great, in-demand jobs in far less time than a traditional certificate- or degree-granting program, while also reducing the cost to the students,” Johnson wrote in an email to the Review.

The FastTrack program offers courses online, in person, and in a hybrid format, and most courses don’t require all-day attendance. Additionally, many employers are transitioning to work-from-home models. These features allow for flexibility for Oberlin residents with busy schedules, and for those who live in more rural areas. Oberlin City Manager Rob Hillard expressed excitement about the partnership.

“The City of Oberlin is pleased to be able to participate with LCCC on the program,” Hillard wrote. “We believe this partnership will be able to impact Oberlin citizens in advancing economic opportunities.” 

LCCC will create a program team to provide personalized attention to students and ensure that 100 percent of the Oberlin Social Equity and Skill Development Promise funds are used to cover tuition and fees for participants. The City of Oberlin has also promised to connect students with Oberlin employers.

The program allows students to earn a living wage in their chosen field while completing coursework, providing them with opportunities to create industry connections. For students who want to continue their education, the certificates build into associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. LCCC Director of School and Community Partnerships Cindy Kushner notes the effect of the partnership between Oberlin and LCCC on students’ long-term goals. 

“It’s uplifting to see the City joining with LCCC to reach residents to ensure they are supported and connected to these career-launching opportunities,” Kushner wrote. “While these programs are designed to get individuals enough training to get them started in their field, the goal is to keep them engaged in learning … while setting themselves up for advancement in their industry.” 

City Councilmember Kristin Peterson believes the program comes at an important time. 

“Even though employment numbers have increased significantly, there are a lot of jobs that are vacant and need employees,” Peterson said. “This gives people a broad spectrum of opportunity. If there are folks in town who are able to take advantage of this, they will be able to get certifications in a variety of fields.” 

Kushner looks forward to the future of the program. 

“We have additional information sessions coming up that we are confirming right now,” Kushner wrote. “Our first two were well-attended and people are so excited and grateful for the new opportunities that the Oberlin Social Equity and Skill Development Promise brings to residents. We are excited to get started!” 

Registration is currently open for the programs. For more information, visit or call 440-366-4856.