State Assists Ohio Defense Manufacturers

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that work has begun to improve defense manufacturing processes under Ohio’s designation as a Defense Manufacturing Community.

With the project under way, partners in the effort have started working with two Ohio companies to improve productivity and efficiency at their facilities. The goal over the course of the three-year project is to help at least 26 small and medium-sized defense manufacturers implement advanced manufacturing technologies and build a more skilled workforce.

“Ohio has the talent and expertise to provide our military with the best equipment available,” Governor DeWine said. “Our efforts over the next three years will build an even stronger manufacturing foundation to support the defense of our country.”

In August 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense designated Ohio as a Defense Manufacturing Community, which is a program designed to support long-term community investments that strengthen national security innovation and expand the capabilities of defense manufacturing.

That designation was followed a few weeks later with a $5 million grant to improve defense manufacturing processes in the state and train workers for next-generation jobs. The grant from the U.S. Department of Defense will be supplemented by a $1.25 million cash match, which includes $650,000 from the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and $600,000 in project income and partner contributions.

Since the Defense Manufacturing Community designation and receipt of the grant, the Ohio Development Services Agency (Development) and its partners have been preparing to implement the project and have begun working with two companies.

“Ohio will lead the way in improving defense manufacturing in our nation,” Lt. Governor Husted said. “Our skilled workforce, innovative companies, and world-class manufacturing partners are ready to reach new levels of productivity and efficiency.”

Development led the effort for the state to be designated as a Defense Manufacturing Community and to secure the grant. MEP, which is a program within Development, is leading the project and is being aided by numerous organizations and businesses throughout the state, including the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, JobsOhio, America Makes, and Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing.

“As a Major General in the Ohio Army National Guard and president & CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, improving and enhancing defense manufacturing in our state is welcome news,” Ohio Chamber President & CEO Steve Stivers said. “Ohio has a history of crafting the advanced equipment needed in the protection of our country and that will continue for years to come thanks to the designation as a Defense Manufacturing Community.”

The grant funding will go to MEP’s partners in the project: Ohio MEP at Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), Ohio MEP at Columbus State Community College, Ohio MEP at FASTLANE – University of Dayton Research Institute, Ohio MEP at MAGNET, Ohio MEP at TechSolve, The Ohio State University’s Ohio Manufacturing Institute and Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, and the Ohio Aerospace Institute.

These partners will establish projects in engineering and implementation of Industry 4.0 and Advanced Manufacturing Technology. The projects will be unique to each of the small to medium-sized defense manufacturers and will include a plan for improved processes, increased production, and product innovation. The manufacturer will be required to pay part of the costs of the implementation.

As the implementation phase gets underway, the MEP at Tec Solve is now working with a company in southwest Ohio, and the MEP at Columbus State is working with a company in central Ohio.

“The Defense Manufacturing Community will build on the success of Ohio’s strong manufacturing traditions,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Development Services Agency. “We will help our country’s soldiers while also strengthening Ohio’s economy and workforce.”

  • At least 26 advanced manufacturing projects will be performed over the three years, including six in the first year and 10 in each of the following two years.
  • A minimum of 400 new credentials will be awarded to workers, including 75 in the first year, 125 in the second, and 200 in the third.
  • With improved manufacturing processes and an improved supply chain, at least 50 new products will be manufactured, and 20 new manufacturers will join the defense supply chain.

Ohio businesses interested in joining the Ohio Defense Manufacturing Community project can contact Susan Foltz, director of Manufacturing Assistance Programs at Development, at