Recycling programs are designed to reuse resources, but they also create jobs.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Two state officials say they stand willing to help local political leaders and businessmen find the necessary educational, training and financial resources to make a national recycling training center here become a reality.
James E. Manuel, director of minority affairs for the Ohio Department of Development, said, however, the project is going to require someone or some entity to "push it forward" and be prepared to devote a lot of time solely to the effort.
The Coalition of City Council Presidents has stepped up to take on the task.
The COCCP invited Manuel and Robert Johnson, assistant director of work force development for the Ohio Board of Regents, to listen to the training center idea and also a presentation by RRI of Ohio, which plans to open its tire-shredding operation in Youngstown in March.
The meeting, attended by political officials from Mahoning County, Youngstown, Struthers, Campbell and Lowellville, as well as Youngstown State University representatives, was held Monday at YSU's Metro College in Boardman.
The COCCP, which includes James E. Fortune Sr., Youngstown council president; Robert Carcelli, Struthers council president; and Bob Yankle, Campbell council president, was formed to spur economic revitalization throughout the Mahoning Valley, specifically along the Mahoning River corridor that runs through the three cities and the village of Lowellville.
There are two prongs to the COCCP's plan. The first is to establish a training center for technicians and technologists, and also to locate a recovery center somewhere along the 1,400 acres of brownfield land, left from abandoned steel mills and other manufacturing plants, that runs from Youngstown to Lowellville, Carcelli said.
The recovery center would generate fees from haulers that bring material here from throughout the state and nation, he said. Spinoff industries that develop from the recovery center also will help bring more jobs to the Valley, Carcelli added.
The coalition wants to enter into an agreement with Triad Chemical of Mentor to provide the training.
Jim Carano of Triad, who is originally from Campbell, said the concept of waste minimization is to reuse what we already have, which helps the environment. But it also provides good-paying jobs, which help the economy.
Training people to handle recycling shredded tires would only be one example of what Triad could do, Carano added.
He said the Mahoning Valley has a large work force, including many veterans who have the basic skills to do recycling work and are available to be trained as technicians.
These technicians could become certified to perform multiple duties in virtually any environmentally-related occupation.
Funding sources for a training center could come from Veterans Affairs. The state's Department of Job and Family Services could provide the people interested in such training.
Carano asked Johnson for the regents' help in providing grant writers to apply for other federal and state money.
The second prong would be to help RRI get as much state help as possible to ensure the success of its scrap-tire processing plant on Brittain Street.
Mark Lewis, president of RRI, said the company formed in 2004 and selected Youngstown because it already had a plant his company could adapt to fit its needs; there was a good work force; and the location was excellent for receiving tires and shipping out the recycled byproducts.
Lewis said the company has a customer and it plans to hire 15 employees, paying them between $8 to $9 an hour. He asked the state officials for human resources help, marketing aid, and training for people who need specific certification to work in the environmental field.
Johnson said that help is available from the 53 campuses the regents oversee, including YSU's Metro College. Some training programs available also won't cost RRI any money at all.
Manuel told Lewis the development department also has small business programs available, and there are other training dollars the company could access as well.
"Our marching orders [from Gov. Bob Taft] are job creation and job retention," Manuel said.