U.S. Senate and House negotiators are planning to provide as much as $90 million to keep the production line running at an Ohio tank manufacturing plant.
The money for the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center is included in the defense bill, which could get congressional approval as early as this week. It means Abrams tanks will continue to roll off the line at the nation's only tank manufacturing plant, in Lima, about 80 miles south of Toledo.
From 2000 to 2009, manufacturing jobs in the greater Dayton area were cut in half as businesses consolidated, closed, or went overseas.
“Everything really just kinda died for us,” says Steve Staub, the head of Staub Manufacturing Solutions.
Jobs drained out of the region, around 40,000 in total, and just a few thousand have been added since 2010—not exactly a roaring comeback. But now the remaining workforce is aging, and area manufacturers are having a hard time finding young, educated workers to fill positions doing increasingly high-tech work.
Montgomery County will hold a forum on workforce development Tuesday from 5:30pm-7:30pm at Sinclair Community College. Area employers and educators will discuss the need for a “talent pipeline” to address a perceived gap between workforce training for young people and available jobs in a changing market.
Local officials want talented young people to be channeled from school, to internships and apprenticeships, to jobs and careers.
Katie McNeil with Miami Machine Corporation is one of many employers who see a growing skills gap as older workers retire.