Charlie Turner

As companies in Ohio and the rest of the United States fight to compete with each other and overseas firms, Miami University’s Hamilton and Middletown campuses are working to give an edge to regional businesses.

The Corporate and Community Institute, with offices at Miami Hamilton and Middletown, works with regional businesses, offering training courses in everything from basic chemistry to workforce management. Contract training classes range in price from $500 to six figures.

Pat McNab, director of the Middletown office, said that the institute’s value is in its large resource pool and flexible programming.

“We can be one stop shopping for (businesses),” McNab said. “If they have any needs at all for developing their workforce-basically we have a huge resource of programs and instructors and a huge network of people across the state that we can use for programs.”

The institute is a member of the EnterpriseOhio network-a system of contract training centers that spans the state. McNab said that membership in the EnterpriseOhio network allows for a greater range of offered training.

“So if a company comes to us and we’ve never heard of what they’re asking for (we can pull from resources from all over the state),” McNab said. “We really help one another.”

AK Steel, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in West Chester, has recently been working with McNab to organize a basic chemistry class for workers on the electro-galvanizing line.

The class, like most others offered at the institute, will be taught by a Miami professor.

“To work in that department you have to have a minimal of high school chemistry knowledge,” McNab said. “So for those who have never had chemistry or it’s been too long since they’ve had chemistry, we use one of our (chemistry) professors to teach them.”

Kathy Weber, director of the Institute’s Hamilton office, has been working on a China initiative that she said will allow small- to medium-sized regional businesses to expand their operations into China.

The program will involve a regular set of programming, as well as a trip that will tour several cities in China. Weber said that although an itinerary has yet to be set in stone, the institute plans to set up meetings with Chinese business leaders who could act as potential business partners for those in the program.

“Basically, this is really a business-focused trip,” Weber said.

Prior to the merger that created Miami’s Corporate and Community Institute, each campus had a Continuing Education and Business Industry Center.

According to both McNab and Weber, the merger of the two offices allows for expanded course offerings, lower operational costs and a more job specific staff, since the offices now share resources and advertise as one unit.

“Combining our offerings into one catalogue-it shows the community that sees our catalogue the full range of opportunities available at both campuses,” Weber said. “Also, when a company contacts us, because we are one unit, we can respond very quickly to their needs because we don’t need to contact Hamilton or Middletown.”

The institute also offers open enrollment classes in topics such as Spanish for travelers and basic business skills. Open enrollment courses do not grant college credit and are open to any member of the public.