YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University is working with other partners to help manufacturers adopt new technologies and grow jobs.

YSU hosted a launch meeting Friday for the group that is part of a $10 million national tech initiative involving the university, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, which manages America Makes in downtown Youngstown, along with the Department of Defense Logistics Agency and the University of Northern Iowa.

The goal of the partnership is to increase the number of small to mid-sized businesses using advanced technologies, bolster areas of the defense manufacturing supply chain and create jobs.

A focus of the partnership is removing barriers to adopting technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing.

“Small and medium enterprises have a place where they can learn how to implement the newest technology for automation into casting that we’re trying to do,” said Brian Vuksanovich, YSU mechanical engineering technology associate professor.

Some of the challenges manufacturers face in adopting new technologies is an aging workforce. work shortages and the cost of upgrading to new tech.

Project funding allows YSU and the University of Northern Iowa to target employers and provide industry-tailored training in automation, robotics and other advanced tech. The employer would then have access to those leading technologies through the university programs.

Ruller said the project was made possible through funding secured by a bipartisan Congressional coalition across Iowa and Ohio, including U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

“We are on the verge of the next great age of manufacturing in America, but that only happens by making robust investments in our workforce to bring our supply chain back home,” Ryan said.