Building a Home for Manufacturing Innovation in Marysville, Ohio
Boston has Route 128, New York has Silicon Alley, Detroit has Automation Alley, and Marysville, Ohio, has US 33.
“The US 33 Corridor has established world-class companies and resources making it highly attractive for new businesses seeking to achieve rapid growth,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO.
The main component of US 33 Corridor is the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor (33 SMC). It is a 35-mile stretch of highway that is both fiber-connected and hardware-enabled and has been used for innovation for the automotive sector. The corridor runs from Dublin through Marysville to East Liberty. Marysville is home to Honda, Honda R&D, Nestle, Scotts Miracle-Gro and Parker Hannifin.
To ensure that more businesses can call this area home, the city is developing 33 Innovation Park, which is open now. “We and our partners recognize the 33 Innovation Park holds the potential to serve as a magnet for fast-growing companies, which is why JobsOhio plans to assist development at the park through the Ohio Site Inventory Program, Nauseef told Industry Week.
The development will be comprised of 84,000 square feet of multitenant Class A industrial and R&D speculative space to accommodate the companies that are choosing this city for relocation as well as expansion.
The city of Marysville began planning the park back in 2016 when it acquired a 206-acre property and invested over $7 million to develop 33 Innovation Park. For its part, JobsOhio launched a new Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP) to fulfill the need for speculative site inventory. OSIP offers financial assistance, including low-interest loans, to support speculative site and building development projects.
IndustryWeek discussed this project with Eric S. Phillips, CEO of the Union County Chamber of Commerce in Marysville, Ohio. He also serves as the executive director of Economic Development at the organization.
IW: What specific sectors in manufacturing are being targeted?
EP: Our target industries include advanced manufacturing, research and development, aerospace, automotive, and agricultural science. The Columbus Region is already home to more than 1,700 manufacturing firms, and that number continues to grow.
Furthermore, with 24 Japanese companies and nine countries represented with companies in Union County, our company base continues to grow in diversity. To support this growth, we are fulfilling an unmet need for speculative industrial space, which is why this development of 33 Innovation Park is so important to the future of our community.
IW: With regard to R&D, would this involve resources that would be shared among tenants of the park?
EP: In partnership with The Ohio State University, the Automotive Mobility Innovation Center (AMIC) at 33 Innovation Park will serve as an incubator, exhibition space, and collaborative environment for mobility companies to advance technologies and develop talent for the jobs of tomorrow. In the Columbus Region, the automotive industry’s economic output exceeds $2.7 billion, and we hope AMIC will further elevate the Columbus Region as a competitive hub for this industry.
IW: Does the talent needed to fill these jobs exist today, when companies locate or expand here, or is this about developing a talent pipeline?
EP: Ohio’s 33 Smart Mobility Corridor has one of the highest concentrations of engineers in the state, and the Columbus Region has approximately 22,000 graduates annually, with one of the nation’s highest concentrations of millennials.
There are over 70 automotive companies along 33 SMC, which includes Honda and numerous suppliers. 33 Innovation Park will provide over 1,000 new jobs to the community.
To develop the workforce for the park and a number of other planned industrial projects, we are working closely with the Marysville Early College High School, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, and Tolles Career & Technical Center on strategic workforce development programs, such as internships for high school seniors, which helps reach prospective workers as early as possible.
Programs such as YouScience, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy and the My Local Career job search portal are additional higher education prep programs we are working with to ensure students develop the skills that are necessary for careers in manufacturing.
We also work closely with Columbus State Community College and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to promote the Modern Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program. Additionally, we maintain a strong relationship with Marion Technical College, which houses our Mobile Manufacturing Lab that supports incumbent workers and students. We are also working with residential developers and home builder associations to encourage the development of accessible and affordable housing to grow our workforce.
IW: How is the educational sector involved?
EP: We maintain strong relationships with our K-12 schools, career techs, and colleges and universities by meeting with them regularly to develop college readiness programs such as student internships, apprenticeships, and job opportunities. The work of Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and Tolles Career & Technical Center in the development of high school internships and the placement of students in the workplace are two examples of programs that we’ve been working to support and develop. Through the celebration of manufacturing with our schools, we work to promote the value of engineering, technical, or manufacturing jobs.
IW: What are the synergies that this development will offer to area companies?
EP: We hope this development will serve as a starter space for companies that will eventually build brick-and-mortar facilities at 33 Innovation Park and along 33 SMC. Manufacturers, research organizations and automotive companies will have a centralized location for collaboration at the heart of 33 SMC, one of the greatest collections of advanced manufacturing, automotive, and R&D assets in Ohio.
By: Adrienne Selko February 25, 2021