Ohio Creates Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A coalition of manufacturing and health care associations has been put in place to address the shortage of equipment and personal protective equipment in the state.

In his daily update Wednesday, Gov. Mike DeWine introduced the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19. As hospital systems have worked to prepare for the oncoming surge of the novel coronavirus pandemic, manufacturers have contacted the state seeking guidance on how they can help address one of the most pressing concerns: a shortage of PPE and other necessary equipment, such as ventilators.

To help coordinate that response, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Manufacturing Extension Program, JobsOhio, the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network and state nursing homes have formed the alliance to guide manufacturers on what items are most needed to coordinate their efforts.

The initiative also provides engineering capabilities and technical support to make PPE alternatives when possible, as well as regional support and financial assistance, when appropriate to accelerate production.

“If you are a manufacturer, we need your help. We need your help right now,” DeWine said.

Manufacturers who believe they have the potential capability and competency to complete materials needed can visit RepurposingProject.com to see a list of what’s needed and can complete a survey describing their capabilities.

“The money will be there,” DeWine said. “What you need to do is let us know what your capability is, what you think you can do and how long it will take.”

How long it will take to get production fully ramped up depends on response from manufacturers. The alliance has bringing people in from the private sector, including retirees, to help, DeWine said. The governor has spoken briefly about this coalition over the last week or so, and says JobsOhio will play a major role in leading it.

“JobsOhio probably knows Ohio business as well as anyone. They know where the resources are and they know what the capabilities are,” DeWine said. “We have tasked them to be very aggressive and reach out and make this a top priority.”

The benefit of relying on state manufacturers is that health care workers and first responders in Ohio will be top priority, added Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

“We would expect Ohio manufacturers to make Ohio the priority,” he said, adding that much of the gear will be needed as the state cycles out of the pandemic, “so it’s important to build the supply chain here in Ohio.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.