Merging Manufacturing Resources: Study Approved to Pursue New Training Center

By Justin Wier

The Youngstown Board of Control entered into an agreement with MS Consultants to conduct a feasibility study on a manufacturing training center that would involve Youngstown State University, Eastern Gateway Community College and the Mahoning Valley Manufacturing Coalition.

T. Sharon Woodberry, director of community planning and economic development for the city, said the city obtained a $50,000 Local Government Innovation Fund grant from the state to pay for the study.

They also signed an agreement with Thomas P. Miller and Associates, who is coordinating the effort.

The study will determine what the best site for the center would be, how much it will cost and what types of usage the space could have.

Woodberry said the space could be used for instruction as well as actual production of goods.

David Bozanich, director of finance for the city and a member of the board of control, said they would like it to be near YSU and Eastern Gateway, perhaps near the business school, but they have to account for limited space.

Woodberry said the sites have been identified, evaluated and scored, but they are not releasing the locations of potential sites at this point.

Martin Abraham, provost of YSU, said manufacturing has always been a focus of the engineering department.

“We’ve been doing manufacturing at the university for quite some time,” Abraham said. “It’s always been one of our areas of expertise.”

He said the feasibility study is the product of a discussion that has been happening for four or five years.

“It’s really viewed as a good opportunity to take advantage of shared resources,” Abraham said. “An opportunity to provide better services for all our students collectively and do it for less money.”

Woodberry said they want to be more efficient with existing equipment already being used by the various parties.

Abraham said there is no formal agreement in place between the parties.

“Conceptually, we’ve agreed that we want to do this,” Abraham said. “We’ve all agreed that this is the right thing to do. We’re trying to identify exactly what that means at this point.”

Woodberry said they are still identifying what the end project will look like.

“This is just the preliminary work,” Woodberry said.

Once the feasibility study is complete they will look into obtaining funding for the center.

The city anticipates the project being completed as soon as 2018.