Dayton's $2.5 Million Manufacturing Hub: Empowering the West Side with Skills and Opportunities

By Nate Dillard
The Big Picture: A pioneering nonprofit in Dayton is set to transform a prototype lab into a comprehensive manufacturing hub. The Westside Makerspace, spearheaded by the Greater Dayton Union Cooperative Initiative, will be a 15,000-square-foot facility aimed at skills training and workforce development, according to the Dayton Business Journal.
Zoom In:
  • - Current State: The Makerspace is temporarily located at Central State University Dayton campus, offering 1,000 square feet of prototype space.
  • - Funding Milestone: $1.4 million raised of a $2.7 million goal, paving the way for the hub's construction in 2024.
  • - Community Impact: Focused on serving west and northwest Dayton, the hub will offer training programs for workers, entrepreneurs, and youth, targeting the underserved.
What's Next:
  • - Construction Plans: Launching in 2024, the new facility aims to open in 2025.
  • - Expanding Reach: With eight businesses already operating out of the current space, the hub's expansion will increase its capacity and impact.
Between the Lines:
  • - Historical Context: West Dayton's once-thriving Black middle class, supported by union manufacturing jobs and Black-owned businesses, faced setbacks due to industry shifts and plant closures.
  • - Economic Disparity: 58% of west Daytonians earn below a living wage, with 43% having limited education beyond high school.
  • - Advancement Barriers: Black workers often find themselves in lower-wage, lower-skill jobs with limited upward mobility.
The Bottom Line: This manufacturing hub is more than a training center; it's a catalyst for bridging the skill gap, fostering Black entrepreneurship, and invigorating the local economy.

The Community Angle: For BIPOC communities in Dayton, the Westside Makerspace represents a beacon of hope and progress. It addresses critical needs in education, skill development, and economic empowerment, particularly for the Black community in west Dayton. By nurturing Black business ownership and creating pathways to higher-paying sectors, the hub is a crucial step towards narrowing the racial wage and wealth gap in the region.
One Digital Work is an editorial campaign powered by the One Digital Dayton digital ecosystem, a hub where job seekers and small business owners can find the essential jobs and support services they need to thrive and grow.

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