Steubenville, Ohio (WTRF) – Thousands in the Ohio Valley have just been offered a seat in a college classroom—completely free of charge.

Trinity Hospital and Eastern Gateway Community College signed a new agreement this morning, announcing that all of Trinity’s 2000 employees and their dependents can take coursework at EGCC with free tuition.

That could mean a medical job like nursing, or even something in-demand outside of the field like truck driving.

Both institutions say this is the way to build a workforce to take on tomorrow’s problems.

But we think this is the start of something big. Because there simply are not enough qualified workers here in the Valley to meet the needs of the next 20 years. We live in demographics that are changing, baby boomers leaving the workforce, and there are some scary trends in our workforce.

Matt Grimshaw, President and CEO, Trinity Health

We do not want our young people to leave. How do we get them not to leave? We build and create opportunities and career pathways at a wonderful hospital setting like Trinity and beyond.

Arthur Daly, Senior VP and Chief Development Officer, EGCC

Trinity says the agreement will give their employees who live across the Ohio River a chance at programs they can’t normally access—while Eastern Gateway says they’ll be able to cast a wider net for their enrollment.

Trinity staff won’t have to wait long to take advantage of the offer: the college is already accepting them for summer classes.