In June of 2022, The Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 377, a measure that will provide $500 million in grant funding for sustainable, transformative projects for the Appalachian region of Ohio.
Earlier in 2022, Intel announced plans for an initial investment of more than $20 billion in the construction of two new leading-edge chip factories in Central Ohio. As the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history, the initial phase of the project is expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs over the course of the build, and to support tens of thousands of additional local long-term jobs across suppliers and partners.
These are the first examples of major investments in the Appalachian region. Nucor Corporation announced a $2.7 billion investment in a new sheet steel mill in West Virginia, and Sherwin-Williams announced it will invest $324 million in Statesville, North Carolina to significantly expand its manufacturing capacity and build a new distribution and fleet transportation center. But why?
Strategic Advancement in Appalachia
Ten years ago, decisions were being made on the heels of the Great Recession that are coming to fruition today, even as the world is trying to recover from the pandemic. While some companies are hesitant to invest until we return to “normal”, it’s clear that the new normal is here and we must accept this, adapt, and move forward.
Investments in Appalachian regions are critical to the survival of the manufacturing industry. These places once housed factories and plants that powered the United States and they have also been those hardest hit by economic turbulence. By bringing money back into these areas, we can revitalize and strengthen them. These places weren’t chosen at random – they are strategically ready for investment. Consider the following:
- Most Appalachian areas have a well-trained workforce thanks to the growing number of vocational schools, technical schools, and specialized education programs.
- The region is strategically located within a one or two-day drive from major populated areas.
- The cost of living is low.
- The region is rich with resources and can continue to support advancements if environmentally-sound investments are made.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not the first crisis that our country (or world) has faced, and the challenges that have come with this crisis will not be the last that we face. Manufacturing is the backbone of our economy and our industry must continue to evolve and prepare for the next five years, ten years, and beyond.
This is a time to look at data and predict new trends in order to advance our industry. Companies must make decisions that align with their workforce pipeline and training opportunities in order to expand and benefit their people and the communities where they choose to put down roots. Appalachia is the perfect place to grow.
Hope Timber Is Here To Serve Central Ohio
Hope Timber is proudly based in Licking County, Ohio, and serves all of central Ohio and surrounding areas with a fleet of more than 100 semi-trailers that pick up and deliver pallets of all sizes. Our location is strategically located near major freeways and industrial parks, making it easy and efficient to serve our customers. Licking County is not just where we run our business but where we call home, and we are proud to be a part of this growing community.