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Congressman Tim Ryan

Representing the 13th District of Ohio

Congressman Tim Ryan Announces $2 million Federal Grant to Youngstown State University

October 11, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan today announced a $2 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to Youngstown State University. These EDA funds will help create the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center (MVICC) in downtown Youngstown. Specifically, these funds will support the renovation and construction of the high bay advanced manufacturing training space for the proposed Youngstown State University Excellence Training Center in Youngstown, Ohio.  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 Federal investment is a gamechanger for Youngstown State University, the City of Youngstown, and the Mahoning Valley. Equipping workers and students with skills to be able to participate in the new American economy is one of the single most important investments we can make for long-term, sustainable growth for our community and the country. Workers with knowledge in advanced manufacturing and other STEM skills are in huge demand, and will play an integral role in solving our country’s big issues. I applaud Youngstown State for pushing this program, and working to better our entire community,” said Congressman Ryan.

“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,” said YSU President Jim Tressel.

The YSU MVICC is one of only 35 projects nationwide to receive a grant from EDA. It is the largest grant to a university among the group. Located in a building formerly owned by Mahoning County at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West Commerce Street, MVICC will be used to foster cross-collaborative interdisciplinary projects between STEM, business, healthcare, the arts and other fields.

“The Excellence Training Center, a key component of the MVICC 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.

This is the 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 had previously provided $3 million as cost share against the two awards. Hripko said the center, located in the former Mahoning County Misdemeanor Jail, will expose clients to a broad spectrum of career options and opportunities. 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 several local entities, including 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 in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.