Ohio earns designation as Defense Manufacturing Community  

Posted: September 4, 2020

Ohio State's Institute for Materials Research, Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence and Ohio Manufacturing Institute serve as supporting partners 

SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 - Mike Huson

The State of Ohio recently earned a new designation by the U.S. Department of Defense that paves the way for long-term community investment opportunities that can strengthen national security innovation and expand the capabilities of defense manufacturing in the state.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Sept. 3 the state had been named a Defense Manufacturing Community under a Defense program that makes a commitment to Ohio’s defense manufacturers and puts the state in position to receive a $5 million grant to improve manufacturing processes and train workers for next-generation jobs.

“The agility, speed, and resilience of Ohio’s manufacturing base offers a vital resource to the Department of Defense in its efforts to broaden and deepen the domestic defense supply chain,” DeWine said. “The same model that realigned the entire Ohio manufacturing base to fight COVID-19 can be realigned to re-shore, innovate to solve Defense Department challenges, and produce equipment at scale.”

Representatives from across the manufacturing community at The Ohio State University backed the designation early with a letter of support.

“The Ohio State University Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME), Ohio Manufacturing Institute (OMI), and Institute for Materials Research (IMR) are honored to play a role in Ohio’s defense manufacturing community,” reads the statement by CDME Executive Director Nate Ames, OMI Director Kathryn Kelley, Ned Hill, professor of Economic Development in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and IMR Director of Innovation Jay Sayre.

“The U.S. Department of Defense is enhancing our nation’s security by investing in Ohio’s world-class manufacturing capabilities. The designation of Ohio as a Defense Manufacturing Community solidifies this bond and enables Ohio to create a more streamlined connection between manufacturers and small businesses.”

Noted among the state’s resources to anchor the Ohio Defense Manufacturing Community and serve small- and mid-sized defense manufacturers was the university’s Ohio Manufacturing Institute (OMI), a manufacturing public policy and advocacy center at Ohio State. OMI plans to support the new community through ongoing research and surveys that will inform the effort from a macro scale.

Also at Ohio State, IMR and CDME have cultivated a history of collaboration through many research and development endeavors. The two institutions work together to advance Ohio State’s presence and leadership in manufacturing research, development and deployment, identifying and leading major block-funding efforts, and enabling the expansion of manufacturing-relevant national and global partnerships.

CDME serves as Ohio State’s manufacturing port of entry for applied research for product design, technology commercialization, workforce development, and manufacturing for industry. IMR not only partners with both OMI and CDME, but operates the university’s Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability Discovery Theme to transform the advanced manufacturing landscape at Ohio State through applied research and education.

The next step for Ohio in the Defense Manufacturing Community process is to apply for the $5 million grant, and the Defense Department will help Ohio apply for the grant. Ohio will use the funds to help the state’s manufacturers adopt new processes and technology to make the state a pre-eminent defense supplier. The funds also will be used to help workers prepare for the new high-tech jobs that employers will create and to attract new people to the manufacturing workforce, including people of color, women, veterans and others.

The Ohio Development Services Agency led the effort for the state to be designated as a Defense Manufacturing Community. The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which is a program within Development, will take the lead in the project and will be aided by numerous organizations and businesses throughout the state, including the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, JobsOhio, Dayton Development Coalition, America Makes, and Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing.

“Ohio will create the nation’s premier defense manufacturing community,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Development Services Agency. “Becoming an official Ohio Defense Manufacturing Community will accelerate and scale manufacturing initiatives, and thereby strengthen the defense supply chain. Ohio is committed to building an inclusive, skilled manufacturing workforce to support the project.”

Article adapted by IMR public relations coordinator Mike Huson from a Sept. 3 release by Ohio’s Development Services Agency.