YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – For the second time in less than a week, a high-ranking member of the Trump administration has visited the Youngstown area.
Last Thursday, it was Vice President Mike Pence in Lordstown. On Wednesday, it was Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross at America Makes in downtown Youngstown. Ross brought $6.4 million in grants with him.
Ross started his afternoon touring the Youngstown Business Incubator renovation of the old Vindicator building downtown. He also met briefly with Zac DiVencenzo, with the Juggerbot 3D printing company.
“Our success story here in Youngstown is that we didn’t lose any time, we didn’t lose any employees. We stayed strong and we’re continuing to grow,” DiVencenzo said.
Ross then walked next door to America Makes, where he announced the grant from the Department of Commerce.
“This funding will help expand production capacity from 240,000 to 400,000 units of PPE per week using additive and digital manufacturing technology,” he said.
He also announced a $5 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation.
“To provide gap financing to small businesses and entrepreneurs adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic,” Ross said.
Ross said he thinks the economy will bounce back.
“I believe that we will have a very sharp V-shaped recovery, assuming that the coronavirus doesn’t get totally out of hand.”
He said the reason he expects a rapid recovery is because a large amount of federal aid came quickly and has gone mostly to individuals and small businesses.
Ross also said Americans are saving more — from 3% in 2008 to a high of 31% to 23% today.
“As things reopen, that will get put into the economy and trigger demand for manufactured products, demand for leisure time activities and create need for more workers.”
There was also a round-table discussion with 14 people. Among those invited were Steve Burns, J.J. Cafaro, Sam Covelli and Tom Humphries. The media was not allowed inside.
Ross also talked about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, calling it the best trade agreement the U.S. has ever made.