DeWine announces creation of Innovation Hub


PERRYSBURG — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik recently announced the creation of Ohio’s first Innovation Hub, a new collaboration that will enhance northwest Ohio’s position as a global leader in glass science, engineering, technology, and production.

Supported by more than $31.3 million in state funding from the Ohio Innovation Hubs Program and $10.4 million in local investment, the new Northwest Ohio Glass Innovation Hub will build on Toledo’s legacy as the “Glass Capital of the World” to accelerate innovation and job growth in both the glass sector and solar industry, which relies heavily on glass.

“Innovation rarely happens without daring ideas and bold risks, and Ohio’s new Glass Innovation Hub will be a groundbreaking example of what we can achieve when we build partnerships and promote collaboration,” said Governor DeWine. “This new venture will enhance the Toledo region’s competitiveness on a global scale, propelling northwest Ohio to the forefront of glass and solar innovation.”

The DeWine-Husted Administration developed the Ohio Innovation Hubs Program in partnership with the Ohio General Assembly last year to spur investment outside Ohio’s major metro areas. Similar to the Innovation Districts located in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, Innovation Hubs combine the talents of leading academic and research institutions, workforce and economic development partners, and private companies to gain a competitive advantage through collaboration.

“The glass industry moved to northwest Ohio because of its proximity to natural resources, but its future growth will depend on innovation and talent. The innovation hub designation and funding will help make it more likely that companies and the region will have a more prosperous future,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “I believe this innovation collaborative will lead to making glass products stronger, lighter, and with less energy, which will give the region’s glass companies a competitive advantage against their global competitors.”

Led by the Northwest Ohio Innovation Consortium (NOIC), the Glass Innovation Hub will be headquartered at the “Glass Center of Excellence” on the campus of O-I Glass in Perrysburg. The Center will serve as a physical location for O-I and other partners, such as First Solar, Libbey Glass, Owens-Corning, and Pilkington North America, to research and develop new technology to solve the most pressing issues in the glass and solar industries.

The Glass Innovation Hub will also place significant focus on creating a high-quality glass and solar workforce across multiple areas of expertise – from skilled trade workers to graduate-trained scientists and engineers – through collaboration with the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Owens Community College, Toledo Public Schools, and other northwest Ohio high schools and community colleges.

NOIC estimates that the work of Glass Innovation Hub partners will have a $284 million economic impact on the northwest Ohio region, spurring $25 million in increased tax revenue and creating 1,600 new jobs over the next seven years. NOIC also anticipates that targeted glass and solar education opportunities will result in an increase of 230 additional local STEM graduates over the same timeframe.

“This is a transformative moment for Toledo—and all of Ohio,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “The Northwest Ohio Glass Innovation Hub is forging strong collaboration between industry leaders, renowned universities and colleges, and local and state government. Together, we will foster new advancements in technology, spur economic growth, and further cement Ohio as the global leader in the glass industry.”

Other Northwest Ohio Glass Innovation Hub partners include Actual Reality Technologies, Associate General Contractors of America, CelSian, City of Toledo, ConnecToledo, Glass Manufacturing Industry Council, Laborers International Union Local 500, LISC Toledo, Lucas County, Regional Growth Partnership Northwest Ohio, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Wood County.

“This innovation hub is just one step toward reestablishing the area as the premier source of innovation for the glass, solar, and advanced manufacturing industries,” said Roger Smith, president of NOIC. “State funding will accelerate our ability to solve industry-wide challenges and drive innovation in priority areas like sustainability, cost, talent, and product performance, which are business imperatives for the companies of northwest Ohio.”

In total, the Ohio Innovation Hubs Program, administered by the Ohio Department of Development, will invest $125 million in the creation of Innovation Hubs across the state. The DeWine-Husted Administration will announce additional awards in the coming months.

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