YSU is partner in tech initiative to grow jobs, bolster supply chain

A partnership between Youngstown State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, which manages America Makes in downtown Youngstown, will leverage $10 million to launch a technology initiative.

The intent is to increase the number of small-to-midsize businesses using advanced technologies, bolster critical areas of the defense manufacturing supply chain and create jobs by removing barriers to adopting Industry 4.0 technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing.

Jackie Ruller, director of advanced manufacturing research and commercialization at YSU, said the university is excited to be part of the partnership “to help our region and the manufacturing community accelerate the transformation of its advanced manufacturing capabilities leveraging the YSU Excellence Training Center at Kohli Hall.”

“We will be working with small- to medium-size businesses throughout the Midwest and East Coast to increase adoption of Industry 4.0 through research, commercialization and new workforce training solutions,” she said.

The partnership is designed to address numerous challenges manufacturers face in adopting new technologies, including an aging workforce, confronting short- and long-term work shortages and prohibitive costs that cause manufacturers to forgo upgrading to new technologies.

Project funding allows YSU and UNI to grow their outreach to those target employers and provide industry-tailored training in automation, robotics and Industry 4.0 topics. These employers would have access to leading technologies in world-class facilities.

The initiative will provide several services to help manufacturers adopt new technologies. Direct one-to-one assistance will focus on developing a business strategy and support processes and training events will be offered regularly to provide awareness of critical elements and the training necessary for integration.

Said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, “we are on the verge of the next great age of manufacturing in America, but that only happens by making robust investments in our workforce to bring our supply chain back home.”

The project was made possible through competitive funding secured by a bipartisan Congressional coalition across Iowa and Ohio.