In an effort to save costs under a shrinking military budget, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base announced earlier this year it would form partnerships with local governments, organizations and businesses.
Now the base is moving forward with those plans: In Riverside Wednesday, Col. Cassie Barlow. Commander of the 88th Air Base Wing, announced that Wright-Patt and some of its new partners now had more concrete ideas to push forward.
“We’ve worked very hard since January to get to the point of identifying specific projects to work on together," she said.
Short-term projects include the launch of a regional workforce website to connect local talent with available jobs. Wright-Patt will also work with Sinclair Community College to provide firefighting and leadership training.
Education is present in a number of the projects put forward by the partnership. Sean Creighton, President of the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education says SOCHE will work with Wright-Patt to place interns with government contractors. It's work they already do, but thanks to the new collaboration they’ll step up those efforts, and now they'll be helping veterans find work.
“How do we transition military, who have the skills and knowledge already, into the workforce in our region and then into other educational programming they might be interested in?" said Creighton.
Longer-term projects announced Wednesday include continuing efforts with Sinclair’s Workforce Development office and identifying other opportunities to share facilities and lower operational costs with the base’s new partners.
“With the economic times we have, not only on the government side, but even in the community, the resources we can share are just tremendous,” said Mo McDonald, executive vice-president of aerospace and defense with the Dayton Development Coalition.
McDonald says that they have “a long way to go” but expressed excitement at the partnerships still to be formed.
Xenia Mayor Marsha Bayless, who stood at the podium with Commander Barlow and McDonald, echoed that sentiment.
“As I look at this partnership, it reminds me of my church actually. My pastor has a saying that says ‘we are companions, and not competitors’ and that certainly fits in this venue today.”