WASHINGTON, D.C. – New federal resources will provide Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) and its partners with a new economic development center that will serve the Dayton region. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that DDC and its partners - which include the Wright Brothers Institute and SRI International of Menlo Park, California - will receive a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to assess the development and production of the Dayton region’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry. The project, which is funded through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), is expected to drive a regional economic development strategy that will spur the region’s manufacturing capability and aerospace expertise. The IMCP investment supports public-private partnerships that drive workforce training programs, infrastructure development, and research.

“UAS technology is the future of aerospace.  Because UAS technology has so much potential, it is essential that Dayton continues to lead in development and testing,” Brown said. “The Miami Valley’s aerospace legacy and skilled workforce make it a perfect fit for the UAS industry. These federal resources are an important step in ensuring the public and private sectors can continue to work together to bring unmanned aerial systems development to the region.”

EDA has approved a $200,000 grant to DDC  and its partners.

Brown has long been an advocate for bringing UAS research and development to Ohio. In February 2013, Brown met with the nominee for secretary of defense, Senator Chuck Hagel, and urged him to support the expansion of the research, training, and development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Ohio. In April 2012, Brown urged Vice President Biden to designate the Miami Valley as an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) test site. In February 2011, Brown worked to successfully amend the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill to increase the number of designated sites across the country to UASs and save taxpayer dollars by ensuring sites selected have the infrastructure necessary to carry out these tests. Because of the amendment, the Reauthorization bill also directs the FAA Administrator to consult with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Defense (DOD)—two principal users and researchers of UAS. By requiring coordination with NASA and DOD, the authorization increases the likelihood that tests would be done in restricted air space surrounding Wright Patterson Airforce Base.

Brown is the author of the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act, which would help ensure that Ohioans have the skills to qualify for new, good-paying positions and that businesses can hire from a local, skilled workforce. The SECTORS Act tailors workforce development to the needs of regional industry, allowing more workers to receive placements and attracting more businesses to a given region. The bill would organize stakeholders connected to a regional industry—businesses, unions, education and training providers, and local workforce and education system administrators—to develop plans for growing that industry. A range of groups are supporting the SECTORS Act, including the National Association of Manufacturers, which asked Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee leadership to include Brown’s legislation in larger job training legislation. The SECTORS Act was also included in the Building a Stronger America Act, a bipartisan bill introduced this month that is aimed at strengthening American manufacturing, exports, and competitiveness.