"The most dramatic local illustration of new approaches to workforce training was the development of the Unified Technologies Center.” Professor David Shriver
As Dr. Ellison dedicated the Eastern Campus in the fall of 1981, his mind turned to the radical changes taking place around him. Once productive manufacturing plants were now idle; the formerly reliable pillars of Cleveland industry were abandoning the city; the public educational system was flailing; and new industries were being developed elsewhere.
Dr. Ellison began to envision a generation of students trained in new technologies not yet seen in Northeast Ohio. In late 1981, Dr. Ellison and his staff developed plans for the Unified Technologies Center, a 96,000-square-foot building that offered state-of-the-art training staffed by industry experts teaching core principles on new manufacturing techniques and technologies.
In 1986, the Unified Technologies Center was completed on the southwest area of the Metropolitan Campus. Early on, the decision was made that the UTC would offer customized training for Cleveland businesses and focus on a narrow band of areas, including office automation, computer-aided design, total quality improvement and pre-technology education.
To support the UTC, the College invested in the Stokes Telecommunications Center and in the purchase of a telecommunication transmitting dish. Now the College’s on-demand educational platform could receive picture and audio signals from satellites transmitting programs originating from any place on Earth. Students would not be limited to learning from Tri-C faculty – they could engage in lessons provided by experts around the world, propelling vibrant discussion, debates and advanced theories among students and faculty. Tri-C’s reach officially became international.
The UTC had to learn to be nimble in its use of resources and in the techniques and processes it teaches. It has become a cornerstone of out-of-the-box thinking for a community thirsty for new approaches to enhance their competitiveness. It was a beacon during a time when Cleveland was desperate for new light. And the UTC now bears the name of the man who created a new model for a new economy – Nolen M. Ellison.