High-tech jobs could see more money

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, toured Sinclair Community College’s UAS training and certification center Thursday in downtown Dayton to focus on high-tech growth areas he said would benefit from more money to programs like Sinclair’s.

The community college has a major emphasis on preparing students for jobs in the emerging civilian UAS industry, which could grow to $90 billion in the next 10 years, according to the Teal Group.

“It is one of the areas most important to our nation,” said Sinclair President and CEO Steven L. Johnson. Nearly 100 students have taken a UAS-related course at Sinclair since last fall.

A trained workforce is one of the most important points a business considers when it chooses where to locate, said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition.

Under the legislation, called Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS), Brown envisions local education, civic, labor and business leaders determining where to spend money on training for a region’s high-tech strengths, such as UAVs. The training would be funded through existing money in the Workforce Investment Act, he said.

“There is federal money available and federal money on the way if we do it right from the bottom up,” he said, adding later, “We’re going to do a big push in September when we return (from the congressional August recess) to get this on the floor and voted on.”

Ohio has touted the emerging field of UAVs as a priority for future job and business expansion. The Miami Valley’s assets, such as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and aerospace education and training, research, testing, development, evaluation and manufacturing capabilities are cited as key to winning a larger share of the industry.

This month, the state announced it will spend $1.5 million to set up an unmanned aerial vehicles complex in the Dayton area.

Ohio also has partnered with Indiana in an attempt to win the Federal Aviation Administration’s selection as one of six test sites nationally to integrate UAVs into manned civilian airspace by 2015. The FAA is expected to announce the locations in December.

Travis Considine, a campaign spokesman for Republican senatorial candidate Josh Mandel, said Mandel is a strong proponent of vocational education.

“Josh believes that everybody should have the opportunity for higher education but that we should do as much as we can for individuals who would rather go into blue collar work and have the tools on their tool belt to do that,” Considine said.

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