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Campus facility is needed step to prep workers

For years, local employers have been raising issues about the struggles of a properly trained skilled workforce. That’s why we are so excited about this week’s unveiling of Youngstown State University’s new $12 million Excellence Training Center, or ETC.

The 54,000-square-foot facility on West Commerce Street in downtown Youngstown is being considered the centerpiece of the regional effort to create a workforce development ecosystem. The ribbon was cut there Monday.

The goal is to meet increasing needs of northeast Ohio’s emerging high-tech markets. The idea had started as a vision to develop and sharpen the Mahoning Valley’s skilled workforce. That vision evolved into something tangible with this $12 million facility.

The one-of-a-kind, two-story research and innovation center has space for additive manufacturing research and design, automation and robotics training, CNC (computerized numerical control) machining classes, metrology and CT scanning, and industrial maintenance training.

In addition, the center has what’s billed as a “Foundry of the Future” that includes advanced mold-making technology and office suites that can be rented by industry partners.

The offerings have great potential to teach the skills needed to work in manufacturing or technologies of the future.

The excitement could be felt in the words of David Sipusic, executive director of the training center, and YSU associate general counsel for research: “The ETC is going to be a place … where workforce, education, research and development and community projects live. … We’re just one part of an ecosystem here in Youngstown, but this is a chance for this Excellence Training Center to be a shining star and another jewel in the crown of the Mahoning Valley.”

The center is a partnership of YSU with Eastern Gateway Community College, America Makes, the Youngstown Business Incubator, the Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana County Career and Technical Centers and the Youngstown City School District.

Bringing these educational and training organizations together to help develop the workforce of the future is exactly what our area and other areas on Ohio and the nation need to match unemployed members of the labor force with the employers who need trained workers to fill vacant positions.

While trained, skilled workers won’t be ready to go to work today, this is a big start for our economic future.

editorial@vindy.com

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