MV Innovation and Commercialization Center part ofcollaborative community
By Amanda Tonoli
Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel discussed plans for the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center during the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition’s quarterly membership meeting.
The MVICC, which will be at 360 W. Commerce St., is a $30 million state-of-the-art shared-use facility that will support manufacturing training and research and development.
During the Friday morning meeting, MVMC founder Brian Benyo said: “YSU has really taken the ball and run with this initiative to create this training center.”
“We would not be here today if it wasn’t for the commitment and the recognition of how this could impact this region,” he said.
“We, in the community, were having discussions centered around the idea that to really enhance the level of skills that are needed in manufacturing to where the manufacturers felt are needed ... we really needed to create some type of shared facility that allow us to advance the capabilities of the instructors and the equipment,” he said.
Tressel said from there it soon became an easy decision.
“It was a no-brainer to me when Brian [Benyo]... said, ‘Hey, we have got to create a facility, a center, that will give us a chance to bring in the technology and expertise we need so we can be highly competitive,’” Tressel said.
In June, the Mahoning County commissioners authorized the sale of the county’s former minimum-security jail to YSU for $525,000 for use as the collaborative innovation center. The commissioners also authorized a co-application with YSU for a $2 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant for renovation of that building.
Tressel said the next step is to get people to buy into the project.
“The biggest thing here is about collaborative partners in this community,” he said. “We have a great offense and a great defense, but we also need to have great fans and great coaches and great special teams. We’re insignificant without every other partner in the collaboration. ... We are creating an environment that will be shared by many in many different ways.”
Tressel hopes to renovate and create a space of more than 70,000 square feet.
“It’s about creating opportunities in this area for young people to thrive,” Tressel said.