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West Chester Township Soars As An Aerospace Industry Hub In The Miami Valley

West Chester Township soars as an aerospace industry hub in the Miami Valley

West Chester Township soars as an aerospace industry hub in the Miami Valley

West Chester Township has positioned itself as a hub for the aerospace industry. Home to GE Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, CFM International and other global manufacturers, officials there say the community is playing a significant role in the national and global economy. WYSO’s Jerry Kenney spoke with Economic Development Manager for West Chester, Katie Kanelopoulos, about the region’s appeal for business leaders. Katie Kanelopoulus: Well, West Chester is really all about location. We have a very advantageous location that we are pretty much directly centered between Cincinnati and Dayton, and we are right on I-75. So, we have had a lot of success drawing companies, particularly in aerospace and aviation. We have G.E. just to our south, which is a huge contributor to the aerospace industry. And then we also have Wright-Patt Air Force Base in Dayton. So, being essentially the hub between those two locations brings us a lot of suppliers. If you go within a three-minute radius it’s about 3 million people. It’s just a very large super region when you take into account Cincinnati and Dayton. I think when these companies are looking to come here, one of the biggest hardships right now for companies obviously, is workforce. Ohio is in a very large area of growth right now with Intel coming and the Honda plant, and now Joby, aviation just made a big announcement. But we also have to be able to fill all those jobs. So, when you look at a place like West Chester, one of the advantages that we have is that it’s a suburb where you have a good standard of living, good cost of living again, a good location where you can get to major downtowns quickly, but we also have a good school district. It’s a place [where] we just were voted 13th in the nation as the best place to live for families by Forbes, which was huge. So, I think that we can market to these companies that if you come here, you’re going to have the workforce because people are going to want to live in West Chester and they’re going to stay. Jerry Kenney: So, you’re working with state agencies like JobsOhio, but also as a Development Department, you’ve got to be working with all facets of city and local government as well. Kanelopoulus: Well, we’ve been, actually West Chester has also been voted three times in a row as best community to do business in Ohio, and we take that very seriously. So, when I go in and meet with companies, you know, my biggest question is, you know, where are your pain points? What can we do on a local, regional or state level to make your jobs easier, to make you more successful, to retain you? And so, whatever I can take back, whether it be just to our local trustees or to, you know, the Ready Cincinnati or regional JobsOhio partners or state legislatures, you know, what can we do as a government locally or statewide to make your job easier? We obviously all want to be successful, whether that be in aerospace or other businesses. And that’s my job, is to be that communicator, that connector. You know, I can’t always provide all the answers, but maybe I can point them in the right direction, or I can at least give the message up the chain that these are the problems that I’m seeing are these are the things that aren’t being met. The needs that aren’t being met by our aerospace industries or other industries. And how can we bridge that gap? Kenney: I’m curious, what are some of those pain points that have been brought to your attention? Kanelopoulus: I think it’s finding [training] the skills, you know, the industries are changing and now that we’re bringing more manufacturing back, reshoring it back to Ohio, a lot of these manufacturing companies need direct links to tech schools or to colleges to train specific skill sets. So, they are saying, you know, it’s great that there’s all these programs, but we need, you know, we need this specific set of skills. So, maybe it’s taking that and partnering them with the university where they can literally bring students to the plant, have some sort of on-the-job training where maybe there’s tuition reimbursement or really partnering down to ‘how can we train people for the jobs that exist?’ Because sometimes there’s a disconnect between what we’re training people for and what […]

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Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

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