Ohio is well-positioned to benefit from the growing demand for advanced energy given the state’s strengths in manufacturing and engineering, leading universities and research facilities, and skilled labor force. Opportunities to leverage this momentum to further serve growing regional, national, and global markets offer real benefits for Ohio’s economy and good-paying jobs for the state’s residents.
Drawing on extensive research and more than 100 interviews with stakeholders and experts in Ohio, the American Jobs Project has identified two economic sectors that show particular promise: wind and additive manufacturing.
There are several barriers hindering Ohio’s advanced energy industries and preventing supply chains from reaching their full potential. Ohio must address these roadblocks if it wants to grow the state’s advanced energy sectors and fully realize economic gains. To take full advantage of these opportunities, Ohio’s policymakers can enact policies that increase demand for wind power and additive manufacturing technology and help the state’s businesses grow, innovate, and outcompete regional, national, and global competitors. With the right policies in place, these two clusters can support as many as 26,000 total jobs annually through 2030.
This project serves as a research-based roadmap for state and local leaders who seek to develop smart policies focused on leveraging Ohio’s resources to create skilled, good-paying jobs. Concerted effort at the state and local levels can create an environment that attracts advanced energy businesses to take root in Ohio. Further, employees in the advanced energy sector will spend their earnings in the local economy at grocery stores and restaurants, and those local establishments will need to hire more employees to satisfy demand. This creates a multiplier effect, where a single dollar spent in a community circulates through local businesses and their employees numerous times.
Summary of Policy Recommendations
The analysis presented in this report culminates in recommendations for Ohio’s leaders based on best practices in the United States and abroad. Each set of recommendations identifies opportunities for removing barriers and growing the wind and additive manufacturing clusters. While the recommendations are intended to be complementary and would be especially powerful if adopted as a package, each can also be viewed as a standalone option.
Encourage Foreign Direct Investment: Recruit foreign companies to Ohio in order to boost wind investments and fill gaps in the supply chain.
Amend Setback Requirements to Allow Flexibility for Turbine Size: Modify current setback requirements to meet the needs of rapidly growing turbines and small-sized distributed turbines.
Create an Ohio Wind Credit: Stimulate wind investment by establishing a wind production credit.
Create an Anchor Company Tax Credit: Offer a tax credit to companies that successfully recruit other wind-related businesses and suppliers to Ohio.
Establish a Port Retooling Strategy and Infrastructure Funds: Upgrade the Port of Cleveland for offshore wind activity through a public-private funding mechanism or a revolving loan program.
Additive Manufacturing Technology
Encourage Foreign Direct Investment: Recruit foreign additive manufacturers to Ohio in order to boost investment and fill gaps in the supply chain.
Capitalize on Digital Manufacturing Innovation to Drive Job Creation: Promote advances in manufacturing technology by assisting companies with corresponding workforce training and technical support.
Establish an Additive Manufacturing Factory Retooling Program: Encourage in-state manufacturing of 3D printing machines, materials, and services by providing capital for retooling factories, purchasing equipment, and building facilities.
Minimize Manufacturing Waste: Reduce manufacturing waste in Ohio by providing incentives for waste-minimizing technologies or mandating a waste reduction target for the manufacturing sector.
Create a Manufacturing Technology Council: Form a council that unites Ohio’s additive manufacturers, advises state leaders on policies, and helps the state remain competitive in national and global markets.
Innovation Ecosystem and Access to Capital
Create an Intrastate Securities Exemption for Equity Crowdfunding: Spur innovation, economic activity, and small business growth by creating an intrastate securities exemption for equity crowdfunding. The exemption will expand the pool of investors that could finance Ohio startups.
Establish an Early-Stage Capital Gains Tax Exemption: Increase the flow of venture capital and incentivize investors by establishing a capital gains tax exemption for investments in early-stage Ohio companies.
Connect Small Businesses to Research Institutions Through an Innovation Voucher Program: Encourage 3D printing adoption by allowing small businesses to use a voucher program to pay for equipment and consulting services from industry experts and local research institutions.
Expand Apprenticeship Programs to Support and Foster Career Pathways: Provide tax incentives and additional support to companies that hire and train apprentices. Further expand apprenticeship opportunities by linking work hours to school credits and certifications. Enhancing apprenticeship opportunities will help meet employer demand for trained workers and prepare Ohioans for jobs in advanced energy sectors.
Enable Dislocated Veterans to Return to Work: Leverage Ohio’s well-trained veteran workforce by designing a program that allows them to continue their education and connects them with employers in need of their technical expertise.
Develop Regional Strategies for Allocating Training Programs and Ensuring Community College Participation: Work with business, industry, and research institutions to align training strategies with employer needs and geographic conditions. Encourage Ohio community colleges to contribute by tailoring relevant degree programs to provide students with the necessary skills to support local manufacturers.