$5M Grant Boosts Ohio’s Defense Manufacturing

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, secured by the Ohio Development Services Agency, will improve the state’s defense manufacturing processes and training for next-generation jobs.

Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced the grant Sept. 17, following an announcement in August that Ohio was designated a Defense Manufacturing Community. The program supports long-term community investments that strengthen national security innovation and expand defense manufacturing capabilities, according to a press release.

“Ohio is positioned to be the premier state for defense manufacturing, and this grant will help our companies and workers achieve that,” DeWine said in the release. “Ohio is committed to ensuring that our military has the best equipment and resources available.”

The $5 million grant will be supplemented by a $1.25 million cash match, which includes $650,000 from the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $600,000 in project income and partner contributions, according to the release.

“Ohio is building the workforce of tomorrow, and this grant will help more workers develop the tech skills that will allow Ohio companies to be on the leading edge of defense manufacturing,” Husted said. “We have created a tech-friendly environment that is making Ohio a leader in the United States.”

The program will start immediately and work should be completed over the next three years, according to the release. Program partners will establish projects in engineering and implementation of Industry 4.0 and Advanced Manufacturing Technology. At least 26 advanced manufacturing projects will be performed, including six in the first year and 10 in each of the following years.

The projects will be unique to each of the small to medium-sized defense manufacturers and will include a plan for improved processes, increased production and product innovation. Manufacturers will be required to pay part of the costs of the implementation.

America Makes, along with the manufacturers’ association and Lorain County Community College and Automation and Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, will establish the credentials and training to upskill and reskill the workforce to meet the needs of the Industry 4.0 equipment and production process needs. At least 400 new credentials will be awarded to workers, including 75 in the first year, 125 in the second and 200 in the third.

“The resources of the state combined with the expertise of our partners ensures we will be successful in making Ohio’s defense industry stronger,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Development Services Agency. “This project follows the Administration’s goals of helping Ohio businesses grow and helping Ohio workers increase their skills.”

Improved manufacturing processes and supply chain will lead to at least 50 new products being manufactured in the state and 20 new manufacturers will join the defense supply chain, according to the release.

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership will lead the Defense Manufacturing Community project in collaboration with the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, JobsOhio, Dayton Development Coalition, America Makes and Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing. Funds will go to Ohio MEP at Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), Ohio MEP at Columbus State Community College, Ohio MEP at FASTLANE – University of Dayton Research Institute, Ohio MEP at MAGNET, Ohio MEP at TechSolve, The Ohio State University – Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, according to the release.

Three working groups will also be created to complete program details, provide input on challenges and communicate with the Office of Economic Adjustment at the Department of Defense. Groups include:

  • Industry Leadership Working Group: Comprised of Ohio’s defense original equipment manufacturers, small and medium-sized defense manufacturers, and several key organizations and agencies engaged in defense manufacturing support.
  • Strategic Leadership Working Group: Includes Ohio MEP and members of other key partners.
  • Implementation Working Group: Includes Ohio MEP, JobsOhio and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association Sector Partnerships.

Source: Ohio Development Services Agency

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.