New STEAM Innovation Center Focused on Combining Academics with the Business and Manufacturing Needs of the Community to Strengthen the Economy

COLUMBUS, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) toured The Point at Otterbein University and met with students who are involved in the new science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) program. Otterbein has partnered with leading organizations from the private and public sectors in Central Ohio to create The Point at Otterbein University, a new STEAM Innovation Center that combines academics with the business and manufacturing needs of our community.  The program focuses on ensuring that academics are aligned with the needs of today’s workforce so graduates are ready to fill in-demand jobs and strengthen our overall economy. 

“I’m encouraged by what I saw today at Otterbein University through their new center, The Point,” said Portman. This center truly is a point—it’s where education meets real-world application and where innovation meets collaboration. I often hear from employers who tell me that they want to hire but they can’t find workers with the right qualifications and skills. This program closes that skills gap and helps create a seamless transition from education to employment by aligning education with workforce needs. It was great hearing from students and leaders involved in this program, and I will take their ideas, feedback, and the good-work I saw here back to Washington because we need more like it.”

As co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, Portman has led efforts in the Senate to strengthen CTE programs and help Ohioans find meaningful employment. In July, the president signed Portman’s Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, legislation he crafted with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) to allow states and localities to use Perkins grant funding to establish CTE-focused academies.  He has also worked on other measures to strengthen CTE programs, including introducing the bipartisan CTE Excellence and Equity Act to support re-designing the high school experience to include courses more relevant to the 21st century workforce to better prepare students for future careers. He introduced the bipartisan JOBS Act to help students access training for the 5.5 million vacant jobs that are unfilled in part because of a shortage of qualified workers. Lastly, he introduced the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act to create a teacher residency grant program to help address the CTE teacher shortage in schools.

Photos from the event are below: