Youngstown training center celebrates opening, hoping for success attracting businesses

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown area is always looking for an edge in attracting businesses, and Monday added another element with the opening of what’s being called the Excellence Training Center.

It’s on the corner of Fifth and Commerce in downtown Youngstown. The plan is to have people trained for the manufacturing jobs of today and the future.

So many people were involved in the Excellence Training Center that two ribbon cuttings were necessary. The first for the educators and the second for the politicians that provided the money.

But the person responsible for driving the center of the project and making sure it was funded was Youngstown State President Jim Tressel, who built on an idea first raised six years ago by YSU faculty members.

“We want to create the way we will have the answer to the future workforce, to the future of manufacturing,” Tressel said.

“Industrial maintenance is one of those things students can go through in a very short time period — a couple weeks, a month. Get nine industry credentials and get a high-paying job quickly. That’s our goal,” said Justin Starr or Eastern Gateway.

First News toured the area where students will study automation and robotics. In the case of ETC, the term “students” references a wide range of people.

“You do not have to be a degree-seeking student to pursue these certificates. That’s one of the beauties of the Excellence Training Center. It’s a k-gray, I call it, situation,” said David Sipusic, ETC executive director.

And it’s not just YSU that’s involved. The logo of Eastern Gateway Community College is also on the front façade.

“You have two organizations that actually get together as brothers, as sisters, as family. They don’t compete against each other. They go for the benefit of the community,” said State Senator Mike Rulli.

Peering over the second-floor balcony were students of the Youngstown City Schools, enrolled in a summer enrichment program at the Red Zone.

“The center will be a place where students, from young people exploring their career potential to displaced workers looking for a new start, will hone their skills and broaden their knowledge,” said Michael Geoghegan, president of Eastern Gateway.

Tressel thanked a lot of people Monday, but one person he singled out was former Ohio Budget Director Tim Keen, who Tressel says believed in the project from the beginning and helped secure much of the money to get it done.

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