There was major news announced earlier in the week about a partnership that means more jobs for Columbia County. A group of seven companies with ties to manufacturing along with three universities announced that they have officially signed on as partners at the new OMIC (Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center) in Scappoose.
The full press release surrounding the news is below, but this is great news for the community, and for the possibility of increased employment in the area.
Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center secures industry commitments to launch major manufacturing partnership
Seven leading manufacturing companies and three Oregon universities are partnering on R&D at new Scappoose facility
Scappoose, Oregon; June 29, 2017 – The Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC) has taken another major step forward with the formal signing of a multi-party collaboration agreement, bringing together manufacturing industry partners with three Oregon public universities in a research and development (R&D) facility being developed in Scappoose, Oregon. This collaboration will launch OMIC’s mission to develop advanced metals manufacturing technologies that are expected to increase commercial productivity and augment state and regional capabilities for industry growth and innovation.
Pledging their commitment to the launch of OMIC R&D are companies with headquarters in Oregon, Washington and across the country:
OMIC R&D will provide economic, strategic, and technological solutions for its industry partners, bringing together the best talents and capabilities of manufacturing and three universities: Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech), Oregon State University (OSU), and Portland State University (PSU). The partnership – scheduled to launch its initial projects in 2017 – will provide “outside-in” applied research, technical advice, and support driven by manufacturing enterprises of all sizes to define the R&D focus. The facility will support new supply chain linkages, provide a critical mass of innovation, and promote the region as a major source of engineering and manufacturing expertise. Membership within OMIC R&D is expected to grow with several national and international companies already expressing interest in becoming part of the collaboration.
“This project represents an exciting opportunity for Boeing and other industry partners,” said Bill Gerry, program manager with Boeing Global Technology. “The partners are pooling resources and experience to problem solve, while also creating opportunity through research and development as well as training. The role of R&D is critical – with industry partnering with Oregon Tech, OSU and PSU – and will be instrumental in bolstering economic growth and deepening relationships with metals-related industry. This provides a glide path for Oregon manufacturers to be more competitive in the global market.”
OMIC R&D will be a state-of-the-art facility comprised of talented engineers and technologists as well as university faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students. All members of the collaboration have a track record of problem-solving related to industrial manufacturing, and access to a collective of world-class technology and equipment. OMIC has already received commitments from international machine tool and equipment manufacturers for the donation of state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment to be used in execution of the R&D projects.
“This industry-driven collaboration is unique, offering significant leverage for industry project dollars. This gain comes from OMIC R&D’s shared equipment, as well as access to the top engineering research faculty in the state,” said Laura McKinney, vice president of Oregon Tech’s Portland-Metro Campus and a lead on OMIC R&D development. “The university research and industry members are in this for the long run, expecting to create economic value for the partners, the state, and further afield. Oregon Tech is honored to be an academic research member in the R&D facility with such top industry partners, and is proud to serve as the host university for this important initiative.”
OMIC will coordinate its R&D facility research projects with hands-on “earn and learn” training programs led by Portland Community College, to be located in a nearby facility that PCC is building. The PCC-OMIC Training Center, scheduled to open in fall 2019, will emphasize craftsmanship, professionalism, and placing graduates into high-wage, high-demand jobs.
Senator Betsy Johnson, whose district includes Scappoose where OMIC is located said, “OMIC is the most exciting economic development effort that Oregon has seen in a long time. OMIC R&D is an Oregon asset that will have a ripple effect across the state. I anticipate that OMIC will bring jobs and new industries to Oregon as the research results begin to accelerate and grow manufacturing.”
OMIC has the strong support of trade unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which recognize the importance of training and apprenticeship programs in growing high-skill, high-wage manufacturing jobs in Oregon via innovation and industry growth. Metals manufacturing is a cornerstone industry for the Greater Portland area, with current employment estimated at nearly 28,000 and approximately 600 small, medium and large metals manufacturing companies. OMIC presents a significant opportunity for the retention and expansion of these firms and the workforce in the region.
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About the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center
OMIC is a world-class collaborative environment bringing together industry, higher education and government in partnership to develop new tools, techniques and technologies to address near-term manufacturing challenges through applied research and advanced technical training. OMIC is modeled after the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) in partnership with Boeing in Sheffield, England. The collaborative partnership includes: AFL-CIO, Business Oregon, City of Scappoose, Columbia County, Columbia County Economic Team, Greater Portland Inc, Manufacturing 21, Portland Community College, Portland State University, Oregon Employment Department, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Oregon State University.