The Appalachian Ohio Manufacturers Coalition opened a new manufacturing and trade support center last week at Britton Industrial Park Building 23 on Ohio 821 near Marietta.
More than 200 people attended the opening ceremony, which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, speakers and tours of the building and facilities.
The center offers customized training programs and provides companies with innovative technologies that companies can use. It also provides additional resources to help the development of manufacturing in the region.
Representatives from Gov. Mike DeWine, U.S. Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, attended the meeting. At the ceremony, they were presented with recognition certificates from their respective offices.
AOMC is a manufacturer-led coalition of education, social services and community leaders focused on aligning the education system with the needs of the manufacturing community. In turn, this will support economic growth and a high quality of life in the Southeast Ohio region, according to the group.
AOMC President Lynn Yost said at last week’s meeting that the program’s structure will begin in 2018.
“We were looking for manufacturer-led solutions.” He said he plans to invest in advanced technology. “Manufacturers, individually, are a small voice, but in combination they become a chorus.”
The combination’s interesting mix of close partnerships with education takes cues from the reality of what’s happening in the field of manufacturing technology at the same time.
“All board members are producers.” he said. But its membership includes many government, educators and manufacturers.
What we want to do is support and ‘grow’ teachers. he said. “Schools don’t know what the current jobs are.” he said. “We want to show them what they need to teach.”
AOMC wants to help small schools with grant writing. As for funding, Yost said; “I’ve tried a lot.” For example, he cited Tech Credit, a state-sponsored program in rural Ohio, as one of the biggest impacts he’s seen over the past 50 years.
AOMC has three interns from Ohio University who were assembling and explaining equipment to Washington County visitors at last week’s opening. Yost, an intern learns the process of making an item and then works with potential manufacturers.
The AOMC community officially covers Athens, Meigs, Morgan, Monroe, Noble and Washington counties, but the group has other affiliations and connections. The long-term goal is for AOMC’s work to extend beyond the Southeast Ohio region.
“We want to serve as a conduit for industry and education.” Yost said. “Our name is a misnomer. We want to build our community beyond the six counties we currently serve.
For example, Yost spoke highly of the Robert C. Byrd Institute in West Virginia.
“They put the curriculum together and train the teachers for the equipment.” “You can’t buy the teacher with the tools.” He said with a smile.
Yost also has a saying to go with it. “You can’t buy the teacher.” He urged industries that need reform to realize that they no longer have a choice. “Don’t give me that new device!” why? “Because the new is in everything.” He said with another smile.
The AOMC ribbon-cutting event featured several advanced manufacturing operations at Yaskawa in Middletown, Festo, headquartered in Mason, and Advanced Technology Consultants and the Haas F1 team on display. Among its impressive displays is Yost, a giant robotic welder that is the only one of its kind in Southeast Ohio.
That’s what Yost signaled, he said. “If kids see some of this technology, they might be excited to get into it.”
Washington County Commissioner Charlie Schilling briefed the group.
“This is an amazing opportunity, an educational and human resource partnership. It builds a vision, not just a product.” Schilling said. “Lynn[Yost]approached me and asked if the commissioners would support this, and I said, ‘It’s a simple yes.’