Blog // Connect Ohio
Proposed Learning Center and Technology Hub to Bring New Opportunities to Rural Ohio
Local schools, colleges, workforce development programs, and community members are coming together in Ohio's Appalachian region to build up a historic Midwest town. The Somerset Learning Center and Technology Hub seeks to bring new job opportunities, learning activities, and social enrichment to Somerset, a small, economically disadvantaged Ohio village united by a strong sense of community.
With a population of just 1,500 and located in one of Ohio's lowest per capita income counties (Perry County, 84th out of 88 Ohio counties), Somerset remains a bright and vibrant village despite its obstacles as a small, rural town. The 50-acre historic district showcases 67 important landmarks and beautiful buildings representing a bygone era. Revitalization efforts are underway to preserve these buildings and maintain Somerset's unique and elegant character. Somerset's “Clean and Green” initiative focuses on monitoring the community's carbon footprint, reducing energy use, and planting trees. A community renewal project is also currently rebuilding sidewalks and streetlights.
It is this strong community support for betterment and progress that makes Somerset an ideal location for the Learning Center and Technology Hub.
Connect Ohio joins multiple state and local groups that hope to make this project possible. Commitments to the project include Ohio University's Zanesville regional campus launching a satellite location in Somerset, providing duel-enrollment and leisure learning opportunities; Connected Nation's Digital Works program offering job training and placement services in IT careers; and local school districts, Perry County Job and Family Services and the Ohio Arts Council offering partnership programs to enhance learning, job skills, and creativity in this area.
A historic building in the heart of the Village is targeted for the Learning Center location. The storefront is surrounded by local shops and located on the highly trafficked Public Square. The Learning Center would share the three-floor, 18,000-square-foot location with the family-owned hardware store that has been in business there for nearly a century. The Village and local partners would take great care to preserve the building's historic importance, while giving residents and businesses access to leading-edge technology, e-learning opportunities, arts programs, and much more.