State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today urged adoption of his budget amendment to connect northeast Ohio research universities and military installations to job growth initiatives. The Poland lawmaker wants to ensure research occurring at Youngstown State University (YSU) and Kent State University (KSU), as well as programs at the Youngstown-Warren Air Reserve Station and Camp Ravenna will be eligible for state program funding through the Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN).

“Right now, OFRN is only strictly tied to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, NASA Glenn Research Facility and OSU,” said Boccieri. “The state of Ohio needs to recognize innovation and research already occurring around these important federal assets. I believe the 3D printing of aeronautical parts at America Makes and YSU, along with the Department of Defense’s (DOD) research with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) surrounding large-area aerial spray capability at the air base should receive state support under this program.”

Current language in House Bill 49, the state budget legislation, limits OFRN funding to the Ohio State University in partnership with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, NASA Glenn Research Facility, Ohio’s research universities and the private sector. However, “Ohio’s research universities” is not further defined in the bill’s language. Boccieri’s amendment would explicitly state that YSU, KSU, the Youngstown-Warren Air Reserve Station and Camp Ravenna qualify for OFRN funding.

“America Makes, the Youngstown Incubator and YSU have already fostered and expanded the manufacturing-related research capacity in the Valley, and this additional state funding would further benefit our workers and the economic growth of our region,” said Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown). “I believe we should support these institutions so they may build upon their success and continue to spur the type of development that creates good-paying jobs for working Ohioans.”

OFRN is an initiative under the Ohio Institute of Technology that seeks to strengthen workforce development and technology commercialization programs by supporting state universities and federal research labs. The program also supports the growth of research innovation and federal contracting for small businesses in the state.

“We know that our region’s academic and military institutions are great assets to our communities and to our state,” said Rep. Glenn Holmes (D-McDonald), whose district includes the air base. “This is an excellent opportunity not only to recognize and support those institutions, but to help spur greater economic development in northeast Ohio as well.”

Boccieri this week penned a letter to House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and Finance Chairman Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) urging adoption of his amendment. The Mahoning Valley delegation also sent a letter to Governor Kasich asking for this support. 

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