VOICES: Our success in manufacturing starts with our workforce

For more than a century, products made in the Dayton region have shaped everyday life, manufactured by an experienced and industrious workforce. As manufacturing has evolved, so has Dayton, maintaining its reputation as a globally competitive hub for manufacturing and innovation.

With 2,500 companies and more than 129,000 employees, manufacturing is one of the region’s top industries and major economic drivers, making up 20 percent of our gross regional product, according to the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association. Our manufacturing sector includes GE Aviation, NuVasive, Midmark, Honda of America, and Crown Equipment Corp., among the top employers in the region. It also includes dozens of suppliers to the automotive, aerospace and defense industries, including companies that make propellers, powertrains, advanced sensors, avionics, antilock brakes, landing gear, glass windshields, diesel engines, flight controls and more.

The Dayton region boasts a collaborative ecosystem, where government, private industry and academia work together to research, develop and manufacture innovative new products and processes.

In fact, one of the region’s major growth opportunities draws on our manufacturing expertise. As the U.S. Air Force ramps up its Agility Prime program focused on advanced air mobility, aerospace companies know they can come to Dayton to research, develop and test new aerospace technologies. We have the expertise so they can stay here when they’re ready to build. Dayton has a strong advanced manufacturing sector with plenty of experience building cars, airplanes and other goods. We’re well-positioned to build the flying cars of the future.

Advanced manufacturing continues to bring new jobs to the region, as well. Since 2016, with the support and partnership of JobsOhio, 160 projects have generated more than 11,600 new jobs, $544.2 million in payroll, $3.72 billion in capital investment and retained more than 45,000 jobs.

Our success in manufacturing starts with our workforce. We have highly skilled, experienced workers who know how to operate and maintain the high-tech equipment used in today’s advanced manufacturing. They’re capable of filling the positions needed and ready to hit the ground running. Dayton offers plenty of options for training, from community colleges and local universities to vocational schools and workforce development centers.

These efforts are critical to bringing new people into the industry to support the jobs we have in the region.

These jobs pay well and offer a range of experience requirements. That means people can move up as they gain experience, training, and certifications. It is a solid career path that can provide an excellent quality of life.

Our local economy looks different than it did 10 or 25 years ago. It’s more diverse and we’ve added tech jobs, seen mission growth at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and new jobs in healthcare, logistics and distribution, as well as manufacturing. That diversity does insulate us from downturns within a specific industry, even if it doesn’t ease the pain of losing a major employer.

Our community partners are working together to support the employees affected by Tenneco’s decision to close its Kettering facility, and we will work together to bring new jobs to the site in the future.

Our community continues to show resilience and strength in the face of adversity. The same drive and determination that sets us apart in the workplace will help us remain a world-class manufacturing community.

Jeff Hoagland is president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, a private, non-profit economic development organization with the mission to recruit, expand and retain jobs in the Dayton Region.

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