Ernestine Fleck, in memory of her late husband Armin J. Fleck, established scholarships that gave Miami University's Corporate and Community Institute (CCI) the ability to offer specialized training to employees of area and regional companies in the quality control and mechanical arts fields.
Ernestine Fleck, who died in 2000, established a charitable trust to honor her husband and ensure that the couple’s assets would leave an ongoing legacy. The result was the Armin J. Fleck Scholarships, which this year yielded $100,000 in support for non-credit professional development at Miami’s regional campuses. Over the past four years, about 1,200 professionals and 30 companies have been impacted by the programming.
“This is such an outstanding opportunity for us and for the companies we’re able to engage,” said Patricia McNab, senior director of Miami’s Corporate and Community Institute. “Working with area companies, we’re able to take the Miami education right into their business. We believe they come to us because of the quality of the programming.”
According to McNab about 70 percent of the Institute’s offerings are customized training for groups of professionals at area businesses. The remaining 30 percent are non-credit professional development training sessions that are open to the public. The Institute also has paired with the University of Dayton on a special 10-day Lean certification program, which includes the participants identifying and undertaking a project within their own company.
There is no state funding available for these types of activities, so the Fleck Scholarships are the only source of support. McNab says that many employers would not be able to afford the training without the help of the Fleck Scholarships.
CCI primarily works with area businesses in Hamilton, Butler, and Warren counties, but its reach stretches from Northern Kentucky to Toledo.
The opening of the Voice of America Learning Center (VOALC) in West Chester, Ohio, is generating new opportunities in the Greater Cincinnati area. McNab cites word of mouth as the Institute’s best marketing tool, and a number of professionals who’ve benefitted from the training at a former employer have requested it at their new company.
According to Barney Wright, the senior executive vice president and trust officer at LCNB National Bank who manages the trust, Armin J. Fleck was employed throughout his life in the tool and die industry in the Dayton area. He was interested in quality control and mechanical arts, and though he was not a college graduate, he felt that while a degree wasn’t always necessary, a course or specialized training might help a person better themselves while qualifying them for a better job.
With this in mind, Mrs. Fleck established the trust yielding the Armin J. Fleck Scholarships, which also support Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and Sinclair Community College, to provide support to professionals interested in the mechanical arts and quality control without requiring them to be on a degree path. According to Wright, the foresight demonstrated by Ernestine Fleck in establishing the trust is both far-reaching and inspiring.
“People with the vision to establish these trusts have an impact far beyond their lifetimes that grows and grows,” said Wright. “There’s certainly a sense of personal satisfaction knowing that so many people in the future will be able to provide better for their families as a result of establishing this type of fund, and that’s good for the community as a whole. But it takes people with the vision and willingness to see beyond the immediate.”