Development of the Mahoning Valley Innovation & Commercialization Center (MVICC) Will Help Prepare Workers to Use Evolving State-of-the-Art Manufacturing Technologies.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As manufacturing becomes increasingly advanced, the industry will need workers with more technical skills to work on and operate the high-tech equipment the manufacturing industry is using today and that will be developed in the future.

For Ohio manufacturers to meet this growing need, LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow – has joined a partnership among Mahoning Valley manufacturers, educators at all levels, and workforce developers, led by Youngstown State University Research Foundation (YSURF), to develop the Mahoning Valley Innovation & Commercialization Center (MVICC). This public- private partnership will create an educational and entrepreneurial hub to share facilities, equipment, and instructors – all necessary to build the educated and skilled manufacturing workforce for the region.

The MVICC will serve as the first of its kind for the manufacturing industry, creating a “Teaching Factory” by replicating the concept of teaching hospitals across the U.S. The Teaching Factory will use shared equipment, facilities and training, all focused on the greater purpose of creating and shaping the talent of tomorrow and further developing incumbent workers today.

Students engaged in the program will earn stackable, portable credentials which can culminate in a certificate or degree. They will also have the option to gain full-time employment with one of the many industry partners.

“The ‘Teaching Factory’ concept has proven successful in preparing workers to excel in other advanced fields, and it is time to bring that model to manufacturing,” said Michael Hripko, president, Youngstown State University Research Foundation, and associate vice president for research, Youngstown State University. “There are manufacturing innovations in materials, equipment and processes happening every day around the country. The Innovation & Commercialization Center will ensure our Ohio workers are prepared to work and succeed on the job from day one.”

The MVICC program will consist of a wide array of manufacturing assets and subjects, including: a shared laboratory for hands-on experience and real-world application, industry-standard equipment, STEM education, electronics, robotics, welding, machining, industrial maintenance, mechatronics, additive manufacturing, advanced materials and lightweight metals.

LIFT, one of the founding Manufacturing USA institutes, and a part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation program, is a Detroit-based public- private partnership dedicated to developing and deploying advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training programs to better prepare the workforce today and in the future.

“The way we teach our workers must keep up with the speed at which our manufacturing industry is innovating,” said Emily DeRocco, director, education and workforce development, LIFT. “Replicating the teaching hospital model in modern manufacturing has the potential to address a challenge that plagues educators and manufacturers across the country: how to ensure students have firsthand access to new and emerging technologies in order to learn the skills necessary to be successful in advanced manufacturing jobs.”

Other MVICC partners include: Youngstown State University, Eastern Gateway Community College, Choffin Career & Technical Center, Columbiana County Career & Technical Center, Mahoning County Career & Technical Center, Trumbull Career & Technical Center, STEM Academy, Youngstown City Schools, City of Youngstown, and Youngstown Business Incubator.


The Youngstown State University Research Foundation (YSURF) provides research support services for, and works in collaboration with Youngstown State University. YSURF serves as entry point for business and industry engagement with Youngstown State University.


LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit or follow on Twitter @NewsFromLIFT to learn more.


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