Cincinnati State Middletown campus student Tabetha Sanders is part of the downtown school’s increasingly popular business management program. The college’s centralized location — in downtown’s former Cincinnati, Gas & Electric Co. building — fosters a closeness and ease many larger universities lack, she says. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

Cincinnati State Middletown enrollment rises as local economy rebounds

The Middletown branch of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College — located in five of the six-stories of the former Cincinnati, Gas & Electric Co. office building in the city’s downtown — raises up its college students both physically and academically.

Students often interact in elevators that transport them up and down each school day between 20 classrooms, computer and science labs in what is one of historic Middletown’s tallest buildings at the corner of North Main Street and Central Ave.

Cincinnati State’s lofty learning has been especially robust in recent years, growing from 250 full and part-time students when the Middletown branch opened in 2012 to now more than 750 students.

Middletown is the northern-most branch of the main Clifton campus of Cincinnati State, just north of downtown Cincinnati.

As the region’s economy rebounds so too has the school’s Business Management program, which officials cite as one of the school’s increasingly sought careers of choice for students.

“Business Management is a popular degree option due to its broad options of careers – combining contemporary classroom practices with cooperative education,” said Linda Schaffeld, Interim Dean for Cincinnati State’s Business Technologies Division.

“Students gain on-the-job management experience, coupled with their associate degree education that focuses on core business topics such as accounting, finance, leadership, marketing, and business communication. Completions of the degree program has increased over 20 percent in the past two years,” said Schaffeld.

“Students who are enrolled in the program are serious about their education and in 2015 were 94 percent satisfied with the quality of instruction at Cincinnati State,” she said.

Count 24-year-old Butler County resident Tabetha Sanders among that number.

Sanders is thriving in Middletown’s pre-business administrations and will soon travel to Florida to work in a co-op program with Disney World’s food and beverage services through the summer.

The Franklin resident loves the proximity and quality of her classes.

“It’s centrally located for me … and the price was also a big factor in choosing Cincinnati State,” said Sanders, who plans to transfer her two-year associate degree to Wright State University to earn a business management undergraduate degree.

“That way I don’t have to pay the full Wright State tuition,” she said.

But choosing State’s Middletown branch was more than just cost savings.

“I like that we are an unusual campus and that we are not so big that you are worried about getting lost. The class sizes are not huge where you worry about not being able to connect with the professor or get the information you need. All the professors here are very student-oriented,” said Sanders.

Mimi Summers, director of the Middletown campus, said Sanders’ co-op opportunity is just one of dozens available through the school’s many degree programs.

“The one-on-one, individualized attention that we are able to provide for our students here on the Middletown Campus helps position them for academic success,” said Summers.

“And through co-op and experiential leaning, students are able to graduate with practical knowledge and professional skills that will help them get that first job or promotion and set them up for career advancement in the future.”

Classmate Trevor Wood, who is studying accounting, appreciates that the campus program is not spread out over an expansive campus like many other Ohio public and private universities.

“I really like the closeness of the environment. I feel like you can talk to your teachers and people know who you are,” said Wood, who lives in Lebanon.

“It’s almost like a college with a small town vibe,” he said. “Everything here is literally here in this building, just vertical.”

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