YBI, UTEP Sign Collaborative Agreement

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The University of Texas at El Paso will establish a satellite center focused on developing the digital engineering skills of students in area colleges and technical programs as part of a memorandum of understanding between the Youngstown Business Incubator and El Paso Chamber of Commerce.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and representatives of America Makes and Youngstown State University joined YBI CEO Barb Ewing and Arlene Carroll, chairwoman of the El Paso Chamber’s board of directors, for the official signing of the MOA Monday morning at YBI.

YBI and the El Paso Chamber will collaborate “to grow the research and business strengths of each community with a focus on creating a mutually beneficial ecosystem for the creation of new jobs and business opportunity in aerospace, defense and advanced manufacturing,” according to the MOU that Ewing and Carroll signed.

YBI is partnering with the El Paso Chamber “to find ways to leverage” their relationships with their communities and our companies to create new partnerships, research opportunities and customer relationships, Ewing said.

The MOA is “for the opportunity for both communities to come together to collaborate with each other in order to promoted economic development in each other’s community,” Carroll said.

As part of the agreement, UTEP, where America Makes launched its first satellite center for additive manufacturing, will establish a satellite center at YBI’s Taft Technology Center focused on digital engineering. The center, in collaboration with YSU, will recruit students from colleges and technical programs throughout the region to improve their digital engineering skills.

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Gallery includes photos of El Paso Chamber’s Arlene Carroll speaking to attendees, YBI’s Barb Ewing and Carroll signing the MOA, and a group photo including Ryan Wicker, executive director, W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation, UTEP; Randy Gilmore, vice president & chief development officer, NCDMM; John Wilczynski, executive director, America Makes; Ewing; U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13, Ohio; Ahsan Choudhuri, associate vice president, Aerospace Center, UTEP; Carroll and Jim Tressel, YSU president.

The center, which initially will involve projects related to hypersonics and satellite design, will recruit 24 students for when it opens in September, according to Ahsan Choudhuri, associate vice president at UTEP. The UTEP satellite will aim to do two things, he said.

One is to improve students’ skills so they are able to enter the aerospace and defense workforce. The other is to create a local talent pool that will hopefully draw those industries here.

An employer meet and greet event is schedule from 4 to 6 p.m. tonight at the Digital Engineering Aerospace and Defense Systems Design Center at 360 W. Commerce St. The event invites students to attend the event to learn about internships for fall 2021. Areas of study include engineering in aerospace, systems, software, materials, mechanical, computer sci/computer and electrical. Click HERE to register.

Other nations are pouring “tons of money” into such technology, Ryan, D-13 Ohio, said. He and U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-16 Texas, secured about $12 million for the YBI-UTEP collaboration.

According to Ryan, digital engineering cuts production time for a fighter jet from a decade to a year by permitting parts to be tested before assembly.

“This is about us being more competitive around manufacturing but its also for our military, to make sure that we have a strong military where we can design and build these jets that we need within a year,” he said.

The aerospace and defense industries are going through a “digital transformation” and defense manufacturing is “at a crossroads,” Choudhuri said.

“Our competitors are building and we are not building,” he said. “We cannot rely on other people to make things for us.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.