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State Commission To Develop Strategy For Retaining, Growing Federal Defense Jobs, Contracts

Jerry Kenney/WYSO
Miami Valley business leaders in healthcare, manufacturing, aviation and other fields gathered in the Berry conference room and Wright State's Nutter Center

The Dayton Development Coalition and the Ohio Federal-Military Jobs Commission (OFMJC) held a forum at Wright State University’s Nutter Center on Thursday to discuss federal job retention and expansion in the state.  

Governor Kasich signed the commission into law in 2014 to make Ohio more competitive in job growth by leveraging the state’s military assets like Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Retired Col. Robert Decker is one of nine commissioners appointed by the Governor. He says Thursday's meeting was one of a series of forums taking place around the state. 

“We’re looking at regions all over the state trying to get input as to what they need, what we can help with, what the state strategy can be to help all of the regions,” he said.

Miami Valley business leaders in healthcare, manufacturing, aviation and other fields participated in today’s meeting   Among the concerns they raised was a possible Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) affecting missions at Wright-Patt and other state military operations.

Credit Jerry Kenney/WYSO
Robert Decker is the current chairman of the Military Affairs Committee for the Toledo Area Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Executive VP of the Development Coalition’s aerospace and defense division, Maurice McDonald says that threat is real.

“You know every state wants to keep all the military installations that they have in the state, but it is apparent the Department of Defense is going to be downsizing overtime so that drives, theoretically, competitiveness across the United States.”

Other concerns raised in the meeting were Ohio’s ability to compete nationally to bring more federal defense mission and contract business into the state, and inspiring future entrepreneurs and business owners among high school students and younger.

Statewide meetings should wrap up in the next month.  Then, using the information gathered in these forums, commissioners will come up with a strategic plan to deliver to Governor Kasich’s desk by April.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.