YSU receives $2 million Department of Commerce grant
Youngstown State University has received $2 million to expand its advanced manufacturing training programs.
The award is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s 2017 Assistance to Coal Communities initiative.
The initiative seeks to assist locally driven efforts in regions severely impacted by the declining use of coal through various programs supporting job creation and workforce development.
YSU’s Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center – envisioned as a place where high-school and college students, entrepreneurs, engineers, machinist and welders can interact – is one of 35 projects in 15 states that received a total of $30 million in funding.
“This grant is yet another endorsement of an important step toward a project we believe will help revolutionize manufacturing and workforce development in this region,” YSU President Jim Tressel said in a news release.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said equipping workers and students with skills to participate in the new economy is one of the most important investments the country can make.
“This federal investment is a game changer for YSU, the city of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley,” Ryan said in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, said investing in good-paying manufacturing jobs is more critical now than ever. “This grant is a meaningful investment in the future of Ohio’s Workforce,” Brown said in a statement.
The money will fund renovation and construction on the Mahoning County’s former minimum-security jail at Commerce Street and Fifth Avenue downtown. YSU purchased the building from the county for $525,000 to convert into the training center.
Earlier this spring, YSU received $1 million for the project from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The university hopes to raise $14 million more for the project, a collaboration between YSU and multiple local entities, including the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers’ Coalition, Eastern Gateway Community College, Youngstown Business Incubator and the career and technical centers in Youngstown and Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.