Governor to cut ribbon on innovative new partnership between Thomas More College, Gravity Diagnostics
Gov. Matt Bevin will be in Covington on Thursday to help launch an innovative new partnership between Thomas More College and Gravity Diagnostics.
The Thomas More College Work Ready Incubator is a ground-breaking program that will benefit students in their quest for real-world experiences, as well as businesses in their search for high-quality talent by connecting to the Thomas More College student population and alumni network. The ribbon cutting ceremony, which will take place at Gravity Diagnostics’ local headquarters, will mark the official start of the pilot program.
Conceptually, the Thomas More Work Ready Incubator is a talent pipeline that allows an employer to directly recruit Thomas More College students and alumni to fill a variety of workforce needs across multiple disciplines, including internships and co-ops as well as part-time and full-time jobs. They will be housed in a dedicated work space within the company where they will work to meet both emerging and immediate needs, to enhance their skillsets, and to learn corporate culture.
The process will be monitored by a Thomas More faculty mentor who will act as a liaison between the employer and any students. The faculty member, together with a Thomas More alumnus and a representative from the broader business community, will mentor and support the student through the initial work experience.
Thomas More College is the only college in Kentucky that requires its students to have one credit hour of experiential learning in order to graduate, and the incubator program advances that mandate.
Thomas More College President, David A. Armstrong, J.D., believes the state’s liberal arts colleges can play a unique role in responding to Governor Bevin’s Work Ready Skills Initiative which is aimed at developing a highly trained, modernized workforce in the Commonwealth to meet employers’ needs.
“Small liberal arts colleges, like Thomas More, are already training our students with the essential skills—like the ability to communicate well and to think creatively and critically—that employers often cite among the top attributes they seek in employees.”
Armstrong added that the size of schools like Thomas More College enables them to be nimble and provide swift, individualized responses to area workforce demands.
“We can customize a tract within one of our existing academic offerings that meets a vital skill need of an employer, and we can also provide students and alumni to fill workforce gaps,” said Armstrong.
“It’s a winning proposition for all involved—the employer gets to know our students and their skills, our students get real-world work experience, and our alumni get established on a potential career tract.”
The Work Ready Incubator concept grew from Armstrong’s confidence in his institution, its students, and its alumni base. Last summer, the president approached Gravity Diagnostics’ CEO, Tony Remington, with the novel idea that the laboratory company could incubate Thomas More student and alumni talent on-site. Armstrong theorized that the company could evaluate students’ skills and their fit in the company’s culture, and the students could similarly gain invaluable exposure to careers of interest to them.
Likewise, the college’s alumni could help growing companies like Gravity Diagnostic fill immediate openings. Remington’s positive response to the concept helped birth the Work Ready Incubator program.
Gravity Diagnostics, a genomic and toxicology laboratory that was established in 2016, conducts testing that serves as an effective medical monitoring program aimed at decreasing the impact to the community caused by the misuse and overdosing of controlled substances, while also reducing the cost to the healthcare system. The business has rapidly expanded from 4 to over 60 employees in just over a year, and Remington noted the timely nature of the Work Ready Incubator.
“We could not have asked for a better academic partnership to help us fulfill our current needs and create a direct pathway for continued, sustainable growth. We are honored to have the opportunity to work with an institution with such a distinguished faculty, student body and alumni base.”
Following the pilot program at Gravity Diagnostics, Armstrong envisions scaling the initiative and establishing similar incubators in other area businesses and eventually at some of the state’s largest employers.