Category Archives: Business Development

Ohio University Receives STEM Grant Funding

Presented By Atomic Speedway

(ATHENS) –  Ohio University has been awarded a Choose Ohio First (COF) grant by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to support students in critical STEM fields.

The $1,068,522 grant over five years is to recruit and support each cohort during its educational journey. The grant supports students in science, including health professions, technology, engineering and mathematics. The grant was approved by the State Controlling Board today.

“We are honored to receive a Choose Ohio First grant and be a part of an initiative that exemplifies our commitment to student success, access to education and the importance of preparing students to meet the emerging workforce needs in the state of Ohio,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “This initiative aligns with our focus on being Fearlessly First and providing support to STEM students, as well as the faculty working to address the workforce needs for their students. We are extremely grateful for Chancellor Gardner’s leadership in helping students achieve their educational goals in these areas.”

OHIO will use the funding to provide STEM scholarships, which will help improve Ohio’s workforce development capacity to innovate and grow the state economy. One hundred percent of the funding from the grant goes toward scholarships for students in the selected majors. The grant also requires a one-to-one match, meaning OHIO will match the ODHE scholarship amount with other, internal scholarships for each student.

The 10 programs that are part of OHIO’s Choose Ohio First Scholars program include the Biological Sciences Pre-professional (pre-health) program and nine engineering and technology programs in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology united in advanced manufacturing. It’s anticipated that 145 students in total will benefit from the enhanced levels of student support to reach their degrees. 

In addition to the benefit to participating students, OHIO’s Choose Ohio First program will promote faculty and industry partners to collaborate to address high-demand workforce needs in advanced manufacturing and healthcare. Professional advisors, internship and career specialists, and student academic support specialists are embedded within the Russ College and the Department of Biology to ensure that each COF Scholar has a robust support network to help them succeed academically at OHIO and beyond. This advising model is especially important to first-generation and underrepresented students, who are encouraged to apply for the program. 

The students selected for the Choose Ohio First Scholars program will be provided with access to curriculum, expert faculty, dedicated student support professionals, financial support and offered opportunities for internships, co-ops, and other research experiences. 

“I’m excited about the opportunity to bring together students from majors across the Russ College for coordinated class and research activities,” Dale Masel, professor of industrial and systems engineering, said. “Today’s highly-automated manufacturing plants are designed and operated by many different types of engineers working collaboratively, so the Choose Ohio First program will be a great way for students to collaborate with others outside their discipline.”

Masel said the state of Ohio has the third-largest manufacturing workforce in the U.S., so when the Russ College’s COF Scholars graduate, they will have the skills needed to support Ohio’s economy. Through teaching topics related to Industry 4.0, or the methods needed to maintain competitiveness in the manufacturing industry, Choose Ohio First engineering scholars will learn interdisciplinary collaboration among the nine programs in engineering, preparing them to excel in the workforce. 

Similarly, Choose Ohio First scholars in biological sciences will gain valuable laboratory experience that has applications in medicine, the environment, and other related fields. They will also have equal opportunity to seek additional internships with partners outside of the department and the University should they choose to do so.

Technology Innovation Grant To Assist OU Build Virtual Factory

Presented By McDonald’s, I’m Lovin’ It!

(ATHENS, Ohio) – A team of Ohio University professors will create a virtual factory for an apprenticeship training model, thanks to a new grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The team is led by Dr. Jesús Pagán, an associate professor in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology. This grant awarded Pagán and his team $295,643 toward their project that aims to benefit the Appalachian region of Ohio and will promote accessible career-oriented training. 

This project’s purpose is to create a virtual factory for an apprenticeship training model where students can receive a professional level experience using digital tools without the expense of a physical factory. Pagán and his team, including Dr. Yuqiu You and Dr. Gursel Suer of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, have the goal to use this new technology to accelerate workforce development training for the Appalachian region while meeting and exceeding industry recognized credentials.

Ohio University is collaborating with the Appalachian Ohio Manufacturers Coalition on the project. Students and employers will greatly benefit from this program, with one of the main benefits being Ohio University’s ability to provide virtual access to equipment in automation, robotics, machines and other resources in an industrial remote environment. 

“This industry is moving forward with changes in technology and it is also being affected by COVID-19. Our project will be providing a platform for easy integration of tools which will allow the manufacturing community to plan, deploy and optimize systems in a virtual environment before or while development and implementation are being executed,” Pagán said. “Training of a workforce that is able to work in this environment will be a crucial part of the transformation process. Our team is working to implement some of these tools in an environment that allow the engineers, programmers and operators to interact with machines in a virtual factory.”

This technology will allow students entering the workforce to receive high-level training from virtually anywhere. Although, according to Pagán, the need for this type of software was already there, “COVID-19 has accelerated the implementation and use of digital tools in order to solve manufacturing issues.”

Not only will students be able to utilize this program to gain professional experience, they will be able to do so at their own pace.  

“This semester more than ever, with reduced lab time and virtual learning, having a virtual factory is an absolute game changer,” said Benjamin Shuster, a senior at Ohio University studying Engineering Technology and Management. “After having the opportunity, pre-COVID-19, to tour manufacturing plants and other similar factories. I can truly understand just how much value this can bring to students by interacting with equipment and learning firsthand how modern tools are integrated together across a plant.”

Pagán’s project will target eight counties in Southeast Ohio to leverage existing infrastructure and develop virtual assets that can strengthen workforce learning in the Governor’s Office of Appalachia’s Buckeye Hills Regional Council – Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry, and Washington.

“The region we are targeting is falling behind in the engineering industry despite economic development efforts. This program has been designed to create opportunities for the underserved Appalachian region by providing access and unique resources to those stepping into and working in the industry,” Pagán said.

Chillicothe Steel Buys Acreage In Gateway Exchange Industrial Park

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

There is some good news of business expansion in the Chillicothe area. Ross County Community Improvement Corporation has announced the sale of 6.44 acres located in Gateway Interchange Industrial Park to Chillicothe Steel.  

The family-owned company, currently leasing space in the McArthur Street Industrial Park, has been operating in Chillicothe for nearly 30 years.  The company sells products throughout Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, and to customers in other areas.  The company’s expansion is expected to create eight new full-time jobs.  

In a press release, company president Jeff Crace said- “At Chillicothe Steel, we take great pride in our excellent service and customer satisfaction.  We are pleased to contribute to the growth of the Chillicothe area”