OEA Grant to Fund Workforce Diversification Effort in Southwest Ohio

The Dayton, Ohio, region has been awarded a $7.0 million grant by DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment to help diversify the area’s economic base as it responds to anticipated cutbacks in the defense industry.

A collaborative effort among 11 local agencies and institutions will leverage the research and development capabilities at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to develop and produce market-ready technologies, reported the Dayton Business Journal.

“This is another step in continuing to support our region’s greatest asset,” said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. “We will be able to leverage our community’s support of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base while investing in new opportunities for growth. This strategy complements and leverages activities taking place inside and outside the fence to grow the private sector,” Hoagland said.

The Dayton Metro Plan for Economic Diversity will build the region’s commercialization infrastructure and support workforce development in the region. Wright State University, the lead grantee, and its partners will start by conducting a holistic assessment of the region’s R&D ecosystem, according to a DOD press release. Other components of the effort will:

  • identify, organize and assess regional stakeholder and partner capabilities;
  • develop a regional strategy to identify commercial market technology needs and intellectual property;
  • develop a regional strategy to identify commercially viable technologies, including plans to grow regional capabilities around market analysis, patent analysis and management capability analysis;
  • develop a regional strategy to assess regional technologies;
  • develop a market push regional technology acceleration model;
  • develop a market pull regional technology commercialization model;
  • develop a platform to increase regional collaboration and identify local assets, including a network of technology development and entrepreneurial mentors;
  • develop pathways for workforce transition into the growing industries of medical manufacturing, unmanned systems and information technology;
  • develop a regional international trade strategy; and
  • develop a sustainability plan to ensure projects continue beyond the grant period.

The grant was awarded under OEA’s defense industry adjustment program, which assists states and communities that have been significantly affected by reductions or cancellations in defense spending.

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