Youngstown State University (YSU), in partnership with the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), has launched a new $10 million tech initiative that aims to create jobs and bolster the manufacturing supply chain.

The two universities held their first meeting for the initiative on May 20 at the YSU Excellence Training Center at Kohli Hall, with representatives from YSU, UNI, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, and the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency.

The initiative aims to “increase the number of small- to midsize-businesses using advanced technologies, bolster critical areas of the defense manufacturing supply chain, and create jobs by removing barriers to adopting Industry 4.0 technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing,” according to the press release.

“We are excited to host this important launch meeting and to be included in a partnership designed to help our region and the manufacturing community accelerate the transformation of advanced manufacturing capabilities,” said Jackie Ruller, director of Advanced Manufacturing Research and Commercialization at YSU.

The initiative hopes to address barriers to adopting new technologies, such as an aging workforce, work shortages, and prohibitive costs that cause manufacturers to stick with their antiquated technology.

Employers will be able to utilize YSU and UNI to gain access to new technologies in world-class facilities, as well as one-to-one assistance and training.

According to Ruller, the initiative was made possible through funding secured by a bipartisan congressional coalition across Iowa and Ohio, including U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

“We are on the verge of the next great age of manufacturing in America, but that only happens by making robust investments in our workforce to bring our supply chain back home,” Rep. Ryan said.

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