Conference addresses key matters in Mahoning Valley

Topics will include military / defense, additive manufacturing and repopulation

Issues and opportunities vital for future growth and prosperity in the Mahoning Valley will be discussed in-depth at Impact Ohio’s daylong Mahoning Valley Regional Conference.

The event Thursday at Waypoint 4180 in Canfield will bring together local government officials, business leaders and others to hear first-hand from experts about the military and defense industry in the region, additive manufacturing and repopulation as a way to meet workforce needs.

“These are always our top three priorities in just about everything that we do, especially in government affairs,” Lyle Huffman, vice president of government affairs for the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber, said.

Defense industry experts will discuss the economic impact of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna — the No. 1 employer in Trumbull County and No. 2 in the Valley — and of the Camp James A. Garfield Joint Military Training Center, part of which is in Trumbull County near Newton Falls.

The hourlong panel at 10:15 a.m. will be followed by one at 11:45 a.m. on how the additive manufacturing ecosystem is changing the landscape for industries and on Youngstown-based America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

“That ecosystem is huge. America Makes … they have over $450 million in their portfolio. The majority of that money ends up leaving Ohio, so part of what we want to talk about with this ecosystem conversation is how to better grab that money and keep it in Ohio to drive economic growth,” Huffman said. “The industries they touch are worldwide, so we want to figure out how we can keep that here and retain some of it in the Mahoning Valley.”

America Makes also is the anchor institution in an effort to capture some of the $125 million available in Ohio to create an innovation hub in Youngstown, Huffman said.

Repopulating the Valley through retaining young people; returning homegrown talent and recruiting fresh faces; and receiving refugees and immigrants is the topic of the third panel at 2:30 p.m.

“Workforce is on everybody’s minds,” Huffman said. “Workforce needs, repopulation can help meet that need if done correctly.”

“If we can get those three items solved and keep supporting (them), I think the Mahoning Valley looks different in 10, 15 years,” Huffman said.

Conference attendees will also hear from Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague and former Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, who will give the keynote address.

The event is being put on by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the regional chamber. Tickets are $50, which includes a post conference reception 4 to 6 p.m. sponsored by the regional chamber. Go to regionalchamber.com and click on the Events tab to register.

The events

Agenda for the 2023 Impact Ohio Mahoning Valley Regional Conference

9:30 to 10 a.m. — Registration, networking and continental breakfast

10:15 to 11:15 a.m. — Panel discussion on the economics of the military and defense industry in the Mahoning Valley

11:15 to 11:30 a.m. — Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague

11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. — Panel discussion on additive manufacturing

12:45 to 1:30 p.m. — Lunch

1:30 to 2:15 p.m. — Keynote address by Jim Tressel, former Youngstown State University president

2:30 to 3:30 p.m.– Panel discussion on repopulating the Valley to meet workforce needs

3:30 p.m. — Closing remarks

4 to 6 p.m. –Post conference reception

How to attend

To register for the Impact Ohio event 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at Waypoint 4180 in Canfield, go to regionalchamber.com and click on the Events tab. The $50 cost also includes a post conference reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres and open bar hosted by the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber.


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