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$70M Youngstown hub to spur manufacturing across U.S.

Published: Fri, August 17, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.




A $70 million vision to revolutionize America’s ability to compete globally and restore some of the millions of manufacturing jobs lost in the last decade will set up shop in downtown Youngstown starting next month.

It’s ambitious:

Sixty-plus partners teaming up, with a projection of 7,200 regional jobs created over the coming years, officials project.

But this is more than just a regional impact, said one top Obama administration official.

“This is not just about putting together hub jobs from Northeast Ohio to West Virginia; it’s about putting together an example for the future of the industry,” said Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council.

He was among more than 200 industry and government leaders taking part in the announcement Thursday at M-7 Technologies in Youngstown.

“This is a strategy to restore strong middle-class jobs and a strategy for a new era of American manufacturing,” said Sperling.

It’s a lot of money and a lot of organizations that came together for a first-of-its kind pilot program — winning a national competition that started in May and beat 12 national proposals, including those from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech University.

Sperling led a federal delegation to announce its ante: a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

That will be merged with $40 million invested by a consortium of more than 60 private and public entities, including nine research universities. All of it is geared toward research and development to cut industrial costs and produce products faster.

Known as the National Additive Manufacturing Institute, it will move into a 12,000-square-foot building on West Boardman Street — an annex of the Youngstown Business Incubator.

The strategy will focus on additive manufacturing, which curbs manufacturing costs and boosts production by using computers to measure and blueprint a part or product.

The blueprint is then transmitted to nearby machinery that builds up an object by adding material, rather than removing it, as in traditional manufacturing.

In May, the federal government issued a request for proposals on how best to go forward with such technology. The more than 60 regional members of the consortium are led by the western Pennsylvania-based National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, which was joined by Youngstown State University, Case Western Reserve University and Carnegie Mellon University in first writing the grant proposal.

As a result, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining estimates that, in the long-run, 7,200 regional jobs will be created as part of the new hub.

It will start small though. By next year, estimates for jobs created or sustained in Youngstown range between 10 and 20.

But more importantly, said Eric Planey, vice president of international business attraction for Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, a “trickle effect” will take place for area manufacturers in the coming years.

“Down the road, many area manufacturers will be able to implement this new technology in their shops and spaces,” said Planey. “There will be major support right here in Youngstown, and it will allow the industry here to stay ahead of, or with, the curve.”

The hub is also expected to attract a steady stream of executives and research professionals to the area, as much of the consortium’s testing efforts, market-ready products and research will be conducted and built at the West Boardman site.

Because YSU’s place in being one of the consortium’s earliest partners, the manufacturing hub should greatly enhance its credibility as an urban research university.

“It’s a huge opportunity in terms of educating our students,” said Martin Abraham, dean of YSU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“It will give us unprecedented access to advanced manufacturing technologies with a great capability to provide first-rate training and work force development.”

Additive manufacturing has its primary applications in the defense, aerospace and biomedical industries. It has been hailed as a key to both national and economic security. Within three years, the pilot program in Youngstown is expected to be entirely self-sufficient and require no federal or state money.

Overall, if the pilot program here proves to be efficient, the federal government hopes to establish up to 15 similar consortiums nationwide.

The incubator was selected as the program’s headquarters because of its experience in commercializing software start-up companies and its proximity to the YSU campus, which Darrell Wallace, a YSU professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, says has a rich history of working with manufacturers of all size.

After years of relative instability in the region’s manufacturing industry, senior Obama administration officials at the announcement said the spotlight would once again be back on the Valley, which they said is uniquely positioned to launch a cutting-edge initiative expected to change the face of American manufacturing.

The country seeks to regain some of the 5 million manufacturing jobs it lost between 2000 and 2010.

“The future is an open book,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th. “We’ve been for 30 years, all of our communities, in one way or another, looking for a way forward. I think today we found it. The future is not thrust upon us — we shape the future.”


1Southside_Res(172 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Okay, so Tim Ryan says, "The future is an open book.” Well, unless you can use some of that $30 million to bring down the urban blight, i.e., the dilapidated residential and commercial properties in Youngstown, there can be no future for Youngstown. This whole article amounts to idiocy unless and until city leaders and city managers take an aggressive posture to right the ship. All we have to do is look no further than the strides that Pittsburgh has made. But, again, myopic city planners and leaders. It's just politics as usual around here. We need more politicians willing to do something instead of posturing that amounts to nothing.

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2DwightK(1256 comments)posted 2 years ago

The biggest problem in the Mahoning Valley isn't crime, blight or drugs. Those are all symptoms of a high unemployment rate. Getting jobs here is the number one priority and this manufacturing hub is a continuation of efforts that have been ongoing for the past decade.

If you get jobs here and lower the unemployment rate crime goes down. People who have jobs they don't want to lose don't engage in drug abuse and crime. Blight goes away as demand for housing and business property goes up.

Attracting jobs cures our problems.

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3PAborn(21 comments)posted 2 years ago

The biggest problem in the Mahoning Valley is the continuing negative attitude of the residents. It's time to embrace change and progress and new ways of thinking. Take a trip to some of the other cities that have, or are in the process of, reinventing themselves, like Akron or Pittsburgh. See what can be done when a city is not stuck in the past, griping about bad luck.

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4anothermike(211 comments)posted 2 years ago

Have to agree with "DwightK"....if a person has the opportunity to get a liveable permanent wage job, chances are he will opt for that instead of running the risk of going to prison for breaking the law every day. Sooner or later he will be caught or killed, that's the payoff for career criminals and always has been........

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5James_S(268 comments)posted 2 years ago

"For decades our politicians have promised us that the "free trade" agenda would bring us greater prosperity than ever before. They insisted that merging our economy into the emerging one world economy would cause millions upon millions of new jobs to be added to the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, it was all a giant lie. Trading with other countries is not a bad thing as long as the level of trade is fairly equal on both sides. When trade becomes very unequal, the consequences can be absolutely catastrophic. Since 1975, the United States has bought more than 8 trillion dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they have bought from us. We are the only economy on earth that could have had 8 trillion dollars drained out of it and still be standing. Instead of leaving the country, those 8 trillion dollars could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers. If we could go back and have a "do over", how much more prosperous would we be today if we had kept that 8 trillion dollars inside the country?"

excerpt from

P.S.- I couldn't agree more

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6sue(171 comments)posted 2 years ago

Where were Timmy and Sherrod when the 1200 jobs were lost at RG Steel. Also, they obviously have no influence with the Obozo administration who screwed 20,000 Delphi retirees.

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7Erplane(482 comments)posted 2 years ago

Thank god some posters came in with positive response about this. Youngstown has its problems - but I think we've shown in the last 7 years they are no longer deemed insurmontable. Cleaning and revitalizing the neighborhoods is a priority. But that should not be an excuse to not work to ensure our companies have the ability to stay up on 21st century technology. Its even more essential. We have to be a focal point for this. And this is government money being used to start a process, and then it is up to the private sector to continue it! We will keep moving forward and it will lead to greater things to come!

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8southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 2 years ago

Some great news for the region!

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9GTX66(343 comments)posted 2 years ago

The Obama Administration is trying to buy votes. Have you ever noticed how all of this stuff comes close to the election? It is not a coincidence.

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10commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 2 years ago

You can bring all of jobs here you want BUT who are you goping to hire? The people that walk around with their pants down to their knees and wearing hoodies OR the ones that dress like they care.
Need to have the parents of the young kids start getting involved with what the kids are doing.

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11hurrdurr(98 comments)posted 2 years ago

I'm as liberal as they come, but this seems like just another extension of the military industrial complex and another way to waste billions in public funds.

This is not an engine for job growth either. This is a front row seat for the creative destruction of thousands of jobs.

It's right there in the story: "All of it is geared toward research and development to cut industrial costs and produce products faster."

The technology being developed is 3D printing. It's coming on fast and it's going to make many manufacturing jobs obsolete in the coming decades.

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12duhtruth(11 comments)posted 2 years ago

This is a giant step forward for the community and YSU. If anyone out there thinks that Romney/Ryan will bring one job to the Mahoning Valley, they are hallucinating. Romney's record at Bain is very clear.

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13philobeto(85 comments)posted 2 years ago

I grew up on the lower west side, and recently had driven through the old neighborhood this summer. What a ghetto! I'm quite disgusting to say the least. It wasn’t a well to do neighborhood growing up back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but I can remember when people took pride in their property. I have no pity for deadbeats, and no disrespect to the few this doesn’t apply to. Youngstown has nothing to offer potential middle class residents. I think the city needs to have an aggressive plan and evoke eminent domain starting with the most blighted neighborhoods closest in proximity to the downtown area. If a neighborhood is not producing or contributing to the overall health of the city, then these neighborhoods need to be demolished, redeveloped into safe gated neighborhoods. The city could buy up the land at its current value, sell the land to a developer, and in future the city will receive higher tax revenue (ROI) from higher income families it will attract. Only problem is the city school system is a disaster, but with open enrollment that problem is only a minor one.

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14bgreene(142 comments)posted 2 years ago


Watch how the money flows........like sand down a rathole !!!!!

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15Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 2 years ago

Wow, so many negative comments. Are you people ever "happy"? I'll hate to be so miserable all the time.

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16Ret(39 comments)posted 2 years ago

I truly hope that this is the job creator that it is being made out to be, I wish I understood the technology behind this project better. Right now to me it sounds like science fiction, sort of like the replicators on the Starship Enterprise. I have a had time visualizing how machine parts can be manufacture with out any tooling. I would be open minded to anyone hear who would like to take a shot at explaining it to me. I'm not trying to be negative, I just truly do not understand the technology.

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17arod(263 comments)posted 2 years ago

Why can't it be a high-tech center, not sure if anybody has looked at a calendar lately but its 2012 not 1956. Why are we focusing on manufacturing, the only thing that can come out of this is the greedy unions get involved and drive the jobs to China.

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18arod(263 comments)posted 2 years ago

Why can't it be a high-tech center, not sure if anybody has looked at a calendar lately but its 2012 not 1956...

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19okiemon(1 comment)posted 2 years ago

Just a picky comment from a frustrated editor: there's no such school as "Georgia Tech University". Check out their website for the real name!

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20southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 2 years ago

This a great day for the region...be happy!

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