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'Another jewel in the crown' — YSU Excellence Training Center opens

YSU President Jim Tressel said the location is a perfect place to link downtown Youngstown to YSU, Eastern Gateway Community College, Youngstown Business Incubator and America Makes.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown State University Excellence Training Center opened Monday to help bring workforce development to the Mahoning Valley.

The 54,000-square-foot center cost $12 million and was funded by $7 million in state capital dollars and $5 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The center is part of the Mahoning Valley’s efforts to create a workforce development ecosystem to ensure skilled workers are available to meet the region’s growing advanced manufacturing needs, including automation, robotics, industrial maintenance, machining and 3-D additive manufacturing.

David Sipusic, executive director of the Excellence Training Center, said the center will be a place for workforce education, research and development and community projects.

“We're just one part of an ecosystem here in Youngstown, but this is a chance for this Excellence Training Center to be a shining star and another jewel in the crown of the Mahoning Valley,” Sipusic said. 

The two-story training center includes space for:

  • Additive manufacturing research and design;
  • Automation and robotics training;
  • Metrology and CT scanning;
  • Industrial maintenance training;
  • “Foundry for the Future” that includes advanced mold-making technology. 

The Excellence Training Center is on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Commerce Street. The Fifth Avenue construction is also completed in front of the building to allow people to access it. 

YSU President Jim Tressel said the location is a perfect place to link downtown Youngstown to YSU, Eastern Gateway Community College, Youngstown Business Incubator and America Makes. 

Tressel said the project for the center started in 2015 and grew with partnerships from Youngstown city officials, Eastern Gateway Community College, state and federal government and more. 

Over the years, YSU found ways to fund the $12 million project through grants and assistance from the state and federal governments. 

Construction for the project started in April 2020, and equipment started to be moved into the building in March 2021. 

Tressel said the center is not just meant for YSU and Eastern Gateway Community College students. There will also be programs for students in grades K-12, displaced workers and people who want to receive more credentials for jobs. 

“It’s the outcomes that come from this building that are key,” Tressel said.

Programs like YSU Red Zone, OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology and Kool Boiz Foundation have already started working with the center for camps with young people, Tressel said. 

“We want young people to catch the vision and the dream that there's plenty to do in the Mahoning Valley,” Tressel said.

Eastern Gateway President Michael Geoghegan said the center demonstrates how the Mahoning Valley will continue to address its economic opportunities by creating partnerships with common missions to ensure the Valley moves forward together.

“The center will ensure that the regional workforce is ready to be competitive in America’s 21st-century economy,” Geoghegan said. 

Partners on the project include Eastern Gateway Community College, Youngstown Business Incubator, America Makes, Mahoning County Career & Technical Center, Columbia County Career & Technical Center, Trumbull Career and Technical Center and Youngstown City School District. 

Sipusic said it was heartwarming to see so many different people come together to help create the center, including politicians, educators and students. 

“We take a lot of punches here in Youngstown and Mahoning Valley over the years,” Sipusic said. “For us to get a resurgence and for the Excellence Training Center to be at the core of that … means a lot.”

The Excellence Training Center is one of several initiatives underway at YSU that is providing training, research, innovation and workforce development for the region’s future. 

Other projects include the YSU IT Workforce Accelerator, YSU Energy Storage and Innovation Training Center, Virtual Career Fairs and the YSU Division for Workforce Education and Innovation. 

Ellen Wagner

About the Author: Ellen Wagner

Ellen Wagner reports on municipal services and budget cuts in Youngstown. She is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.
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