LIMA (Tribune News Service) — Up to $10 million will be available for upgrades in equipment and infrastructure at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, a good sign as the facility retools for the next generation of Abrams tanks.
Officials at the plant will soon release the amount of money that will be spent, but on Monday during a Task Force L.I.M.A. meeting officials said the $10 million is double the amount allocated in recent years just to keep the plant running.
"That's a good news story for JSMC," said Hank Kennedy, the director of plant operations.
Next year the next generation of Abrams tank will start. The upgrades planned will be in equipment and machines to improve technology and improve efficiency on the line for the production of the tank. Much of the equipment being used today is 20 to 30 years old, Kennedy said.
Anytime there's an investment in equipment at a facility means there is interest in keeping it up and running, Kennedy said.
Denny Glenn, a commissioner on the Ohio Federal Military Jobs Commission who is retired from the local plant, told members of the task force about the report issued to the governor's office and to state lawmakers about recommendations to maintain and grow federal jobs such as those at JSMC.
One recommendation is to work with schools to educate the children in kindergarten through grade 12 to be up to speed to move into such jobs when they are ready to enter the workforce, Glenn said.
That means developing a curriculum tailored to meet the needs of the jobs, Glenn said.
The commission also met with university presidents in Ohio to get that group on board to help prepare the next generation of workers, Glenn said.
Jobs in the medical field, such as those at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals in Ohio continue to command the biggest demand, especially nurses, Glenn said.
The next phase for the commission will be to work with state lawmakers to establish an executive director to oversee programs that promote military related jobs in Ohio.
The commission was created in 2014 by the Ohio legislature to protect, serve and grow federal military jobs in the state. It was created out of concern there would be another BRAC or defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. The local task force aims to keep work at JSMC and stop it from being part of any talks with BRAC.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.
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