YSU Gets $2M Grant for Commercialization Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The U.S. Department of Economic Development has awarded a $2 million grant to Youngstown State University to help fund the creation of the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center in downtown Youngstown.

The center, to be located in a building formerly owned by Mahoning County at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West Commerce Street, will be used to foster cross-collaborative interdisciplinary projects between STEM, business, health care, the arts and other fields.

The grant, announced by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, will support the renovation and construction of the high bay advanced manufacturing training space. The project will create a space for advanced manufacturing training, instructional as well as general use, and will train displaced and disadvantaged workers on the most modern advanced manufacturing equipment available and support the need of highly skilled workers to local businesses.

“This grant is yet another endorsement of and an important step towards a project we believe will help revolutionize manufacturing and workforce development in this region,” YSU President Jim Tressel said in a statement.

The $2 million EDA grant second federal grant for the project this year. In the spring, the Appalachian Regional Commission awarded YSU $1 million for the project. In addition, the state of Ohio  previously provided $3 million as cost share against the two awards. The Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center is also part of the YSU’s capital fundraising campaign, which will go public later this month. The campaign hopes to raise an additional $14 million for the project.

“The Excellence Training Center, a key component of the project, will house the most modern advanced manufacturing equipment available for training students with the necessary 21st century skills our manufacturers need to maintain competiveness in this fast changing, technologically-driven industry,” said Mike Hripko, YSU associate vice president for research.

The center will expose clients to a broad spectrum of career options and opportunities, Hripko continued. Clients will be offered a variety of workforce development and educational pathways that will enable them to navigate from entry-level to highly skilled advanced manufacturing positions, enabling ongoing career versatility and adaptability.

YSU is partnering in the project with the Eastern Gateway Community College, the Mahoning County Commissioners, the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, and Youngstown Career and Technical Centers, and the Youngstown Business Incubator.

The university received strong support from Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, Mahoning and Columbiana Training Association, Trumbull County Department of Job and Family Services, Workforce Development Board of Mahoning and Columbiana Counties, the Workforce Development Board of Trumbull County, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Ohio Mid-Eastern Government Association and the Northwest Commission. YSU also received commitments from local manufacturers, including Kiraly Tool and Die, Starr Manufacturing, Brilex Industries, Bird Equipment, and Butech Bliss.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, makes investments in economically distressed communities.

Pictured at top: Sign on the side of the downtown building slated to become the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.