Southwest Ohio aerospace industry leads pack for federal funds – Springfield News Sun

A total $1.3 billion in federal money is available to spend on economic development across the nation, and a new designation puts Southwest Ohio at the front of the line to receive a slice.

A public-private partnership in an area spanning from Springfield to Northern Kentucky applied earlier this year for a federal program known as the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership and won.

The Southwestern Ohio Aerospace Region, as the collaboration is called, was one of 12 designees named nationwide.

With the new two-year designation, local organizations in the 27-county area get preferential treatment when applying for government funding to support the aerospace manufacturing industry.

Millions of dollars are at stake for the local economy.

“By having this and getting more federal resources, we’re hoping to increase the number of trained workers in the region, which will hopefully lead to more jobs in the area,” said John Owen, research director for Dayton Development Coalition.

The development coalition includes several businesses and government agencies in Springfield and Clark County.

Next steps are for local businesses, governments and institutions to take advantage of the federally recognized manufacturing community status, and seek out government funding, said Sam Stephens, senior development officer for Cincinnati.

Six priority areas have been identified for spending: workforce, supply chain, research and innovation, infrastructure and site development, international trade assistance, and capital access, according to the coalition.

The joint application, a first-of-its-kind partnership, flaunted the region’s higher-than-national-average concentration of jobs and businesses in the aerospace parts and products manufacturing sector.

“When we’re looking at how the … region is known nationally and internationally, this is a huge step toward linking our aviation and aerospace manufacturing expertise in the minds of companies,” Stephens said.

In fact, aerospace manufacturing employs about 10,000 workers in the Tristate Cincinnati metropolitan, more than any other manufacturing sector including automotive, according to Stephens.

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