Responding to the current and predicted future workforce and applied research needs of Butler County and Southwest Ohio manufacturers, Butler Tech and Miami University are leading a unique effort to establish a new advanced manufacturing hub in Butler County. A collaboration among Miami University, Butler Tech, the Butler County Board of Commissioners, and the City of Hamilton, the hub will bolster the region’s strong manufacturing base and serve the needs of industry and students through education, training, and research.
Miami will acquire the Vora Technology Park to house the new hub, subject to the approval of Ohio’s Controlling Board. Butler Tech, which will sign a 40-year lease on the space, has secured $8 million in federal ARPA funds from the Butler County Board of Commissioners to establish the hub. Additionally, the City of Hamilton has brought forward $2.5 million for this effort. Hub partners continue to seek additional federal, state, and corporate grants to finance this ongoing project.
“This marks an important moment in Butler Tech history and career tech education,” said Jon Graft, superintendent and CEO of Butler Tech. “Butler Tech and Miami University are collaborating to build the future of public education in the United States. Students will obtain the greatest return on investment for their education, while businesses can access the most qualified, competent, and experienced students in the industry.”
The partnership aims to connect faculty and students from both institutions with manufacturing companies to solve real-world problems. Industry working with education will provide students with hands-on training with the new technologies that are driving the Ohio manufacturing industry. Through this immersive process, the collaboration will strengthen the manufacturing pipeline in the region. Students will be prepared to enter the workforce with the immediate opportunity for career growth. To date, a number of employers have agreed to co-locate and provide equipment to support the hub.
Through this partnership, students will be able to obtain their high school diploma, certifications, micro-credentials, and associate and bachelor’s degrees, while participating in training in a state-of-the-art facility, with company partners, technology specialists, and mentors.
“Miami University’s partnership with Butler Tech is the beginning of a unique national model that will significantly elevate our region and the state of Ohio,” Miami University President Gregory Crawford said. “The acquisition of Vora Technology Park will allow the university and Butler Tech to collaboratively expand our in-demand programming, create a hub of advanced manufacturing training and research, and cultivate a talent pipeline in Southwest Ohio that will strengthen and propel our state-wide manufacturing economy.”
The hub is expected to launch in the fall of 2025. Butler Tech and Miami, will initially occupy 70,000 square feet each, with room to grow in the 300,000-square-foot facility. The facility also provides space for joint Butler Tech and Miami University programming, as well as additional space for regional manufacturers to co-locate on-site.
“This collaboration not only addresses our region’s workforce needs but also establishes a vital innovation hub for southwest Ohio,” Joshua Smith, city manager of the City of Hamilton said. “Through strategic initiatives and shared expertise, this partnership propels us toward a future of economic growth, technological advancement, and enhanced opportunities for our community.”
The Hub will support a variety of industry partners, including those in automation, computer and networking systems, electrical, mechanical, mechatronics, robotics, photonics and sensing, machine learning, welding, and smart manufacturing connecting to the burgeoning technology of artificial intelligence. Complementing their advanced technology and engineering skills, students will develop business savvy, entrepreneurial imagination, and a critical thinking mindset relevant to the smart manufacturing business.
Hub partners will also have access to Butler Tech and Miami University manufacturing assets located across Butler County including Miami’s Fisher Innovation College@Elm, the College of Engineering and Computing, and Butler Tech’s Advanced Manufacturing pathways that include Machining, Welding, Information Technology, and Mechatronics.
Through this collaboration, students will also have access to a variety of distinctive pathways to meet all levels of need in the manufacturing sector from industry-recognized certificates to degrees in Smart Manufacturing Engineering, Robotics and Automation through Miami’s College of Engineering and Computing.
A number of entities have expressed support for the Hub including Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership, Emersion, General Tool, Juxtum, McGill Smith Punshon, Nth Cycle, TechSolve Ohio, thyssenKrupp Bilstein of America, Inc., United Grinding North America, Veolia, Yaskawa, and the Ohio Manufacturing Association.
“The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association applauds Miami University and Butler Tech for leading this exciting initiative,” Ohio Manufacturers’ Association President Ryan Augsburger said. “As manufacturers continue to add new career opportunities across our state, the Hub will play an important role in ensuring skilled talent for Ohio’s number one industry.”
A childcare center and Butler County Regional Transit Authority bus service are expected to be available on-site for those participating in programming.
“Butler Tech and Miami University are creating a vital access point to the thriving education, training and workforce ecosystem in Ohio,” said Ande Durojaiye, vice president and dean of Miami University Regionals. “This partnership reaffirms Miami’s commitment to promoting economic and social mobility in our communities, region and state.”
Companies with interest in partnering with Butler Tech and Miami University on this dynamic and future-looking initiative, please contact Marni Durham, Workforce Services, Butler Tech Assistant Superintendent.