Butler Tech is asking for $220,000 from the state capital budget to be introduced by the end of this month. PROVIDED
Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided

Butler Tech seeks $220K from the state for manufacturing lab improvements

The initiative updates and expands two Precision Machining labs that serve the school’s students, according to the proposal Butler Tech sent to Ohio Reps. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, and George Lang, R-West Chester Twp.

This includes adding a 3D metal printer to train students in Additive Technology, support for new marketing initiatives to bring a larger number of students into manufacturing programs, and provide more College Credit Plus offerings allowing students to receive their needed credentials, college credit, and a high probability of a job with a local manufacturer.

“This initiative is a collaboration between Butler Tech, local manufacturing companies, local chambers of commerce and college partners,” according to Butler Tech’s proposal. “Any funds obtained from this capital budget request would go to the purchase of equipment/machinery for updated labs.”

Butler Tech spokesman Michael Beauchat said the goal behind the capital budget request “is to modernize our advanced manufacturing labs … to better reflect what the current industry looks like.”

As an example, one lab at Butler Tech’s Colerain Twp. location has equipment dating back to the 1980s, and an instructor there trained on some of that same equipment when he was in high school.

Modern manufacturing jobs are high tech, computer-based and engineering-based jobs, “a much different flavor of what it was 20 or 30 years ago,” he said.

“The business community is seeing there’s a need to show students what a more modern manufacturing lab looks like to get them interested in that career pathway, and to get them better aligned what a modern manufacturing environment looks like and feels like, hopefully to stimulate some interest,” said Beauchat.

The project is expected to cost $885,995, with the largest share of the cost — $614,495 — going toward equipment, and the capital budget request is the balance of the funds not being covered by non-state funding sources. Nearly $483,000 is being funded by non-local business partners and other grants and foundations, and $123,000 coming from matching funds from local business partners.

Millions of tax dollars will be invested in Ohio projects, and Butler County local governments and organizations have collectively requested nearly $41.1 million in the state’s capital budget, which is projected to be around $2 billion. Two years ago, the budget was $2.6 billion.

Butler County project requests are just a fraction of the thousands made by 99 Ohio House and 33 Ohio Senate members lobbying for a piece of the capital budget fund.

It’s expected the capital budget bill will be introduced at the end of February in chambers of the General Assembly, and House and Senate officials hope the bill is passed and signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich by the end of March.