Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance teams with St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Duke Energy to support IGNITE INSTITUTE at Roebling Innovation Center

March 20, 2018: The Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance and member companies St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Duke Energy will provide a substantial gift to the IGNITE INSTITUTE to accelerate its formation.  Toyota announced the donation of its Quality & Production Engineering Laboratory facility in Erlanger, Kentucky in 2017 for the creation of a regionally based and tuition-free STEAM-based education center to serve the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region.  The IGNITE INSTITUTE will focus on project-based learning in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) with real industry-case methodology.

During the beginning stages of the regional dialogue of the Ignite building donation, all the discussion partners strongly agreed that education is the basic requirement of a strong workforce development and economic growth philosophy.

The goal of the Ignite Institute is to bring all factors impacting regional workforce development and education into industry sector orientated practical applications with multiple collaboration points.

Ignite will have Educator externships and Business partner relationships in place to create real world curriculums for students.  The student’s curriculum will be accompanied by ongoing Business partner mentors and on the job student internships.

The successful student outcome is to create a graduate that is both career passionate and career positioned including real world skills such as communication, team work and problem solving. The students should be easily able to choose the next steps in their educational pathway from either a professional or technical field.

The Business partner’s success will be realized from a longer-term perspective as they invest into the skill, capability and the growth of the regional talent.

To help facilitate this regional initiative at the Ignite Institute, David Fleischer has been selected as Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships.  He comes to this position with a management background from Toyota North America where he worked for 29 years before retiring. Mr. Fleischer was instrumental in the donation of Toyota’s Quality and Production Engineering Lab to Boone County Schools to create IGNITE for the region.

In his new role, Mr. Fleischer will act as the liaison between Education partners, Business partners and Parents to ensure curriculum development and student skills meet and exceed NKY workforce development requirements.  He will also ensure fiscal responsibility, oversees fundraising efforts, compliance with internal procedures and ensuring strong internal/external communications.

“We believe that the success of the IGNITE INSTITUE will be transformational for the Northern Kentucky region,” said St. Elizabeth Healthcare CEO Garren Colvin.  “Many of our workforce needs can be met long term through this innovative approach to education.”

“This fits quite well with the mission of the Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance and as a member organization, Duke Energy appreciates the value IGNITE will bring to the region.  We are pleased to participate in this collaborative gift,” said Jim Henning, President of Duke Energy and Chair of the Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance.

The Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance led by President & CEO Karen Finan, was formed in May 2017 and is comprised of regional leaders who focus on initiatives important to the community’s progress through community vibrancy, job growth, health and education. Early initiatives have included collaborations with the LiveWell health movement and BUILD grant; Cintrifuse and the Northern Kentucky startup ecosystem inclusive of Kentucky Innovation Network, Uptech, Aviatra Accelerators and Northern Kentucky University; the Northern Kentucky Education Council and the 2017 Education Summit.

“Education is a key component of workforce development.  My passion has always been to bring together two groups that have historically had the same goal but have not had great success at collaborating; education and business.  Bringing the two together in this progressive way will transform the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati workforce for maximum growth and future stability,” says Dave Fleischer newly named Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships at IGNITE INSTITUTE.

“We are very grateful for the generous support of our regional business partners, and for their shared belief in how IGNITE will transform education and best prepare students for future careers in our region’s work sectors,” says Boone County Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Poe.

Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year IGNITE plans to accommodate up to 1,000 students in grades 9-12. Boone County Schools will own and operate IGNITE INSTITUTE.