By AMANDA WURST
EGCC Senior VP of Communications
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The inability or significant delays to get products, especially raw materials needed in the manufacturing process, is disrupting everything from the automobile industry to what Santa was able to leave under the tree on Christmas.
Supply chain issues have given both businesses and consumers an opportunity to ask, “Is there a better way we can get the things we need?” For businesses, many are wondering if there are ways to eliminate the middlemen and exert more control over their production processes.
As Eastern Gateway Community College looked at these issues, as well as the future needs and potential of the workforce in the Mahoning Valley, an innovative solution came to the forefront. And it leverages the historic strengths of the region.
Working in partnership with America Makes, the Youngstown-based leader in the advocacy and promotion of additive manufacturing, the college is leveraging a $3.5 million investment through the Ohio Department of Development to create a workspace in downtown Youngstown that will inspire and encourage additive manufacturing in the Valley.
“Additive manufacturing joins some of the most cutting-edge technology with many of our existing manufacturing models,” says Art Daly, EGCC senior vice president and leader of its workforce development initiatives.“This incorporates computer-aided design and 3-D printing to create component parts that can build everything from fighter jets to houses.”
In the future, Daly says, companies will be able to make their own or become less reliant on component parts to manufacture products, thus freeing businesses from overreliance on recently unreliable supply chain.
“Now is certainly the time for us all to appreciate the power of additive manufacturing and how it can transform the way many companies do business,” says Daly. “The next necessary steps are getting workers ready to take full advantage of the economic opportunities that lie ahead.”
To do so, Eastern Gateway is working with America Makes to open a 3-D Makerspace on the Youngstown campus. The college will offer additive manufacturing training programs, with an emphasis on displaced workers and those looking to upskill their manufacturing credentials. The space will be open for boot camps for students and to businesses that want to learn 3-D printing.
“Our goal for this new space is to be as visible as our health care training labs are today,” Daly says. “It’s how we can show the community that America’s 21st century workforce starts here.”