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State: GE investments mean jobs

Research hubs such as the one GE Aviation opened in Dayton this year and the one it announced for Evendale on Thursday bode well for the area’s economy, company and state leaders said Thursday.

The impact derives not just from jobs at the centers, but the training students with allied universities receive at the centers.

The $53 million electrical power research center on the University of Dayton campus that will have grand opening in December will help train dozens of UD engineering students over time, school and company officials have said. The new Evendale center GE Aviation will create with the University of Cincinnati Research Institute is expected to have a similar impact.

“When these folks are trained, with those skills, it adds to the pool of available workers,” said Thomas Seward, a project manager with the state’s private development arm, JobsOhio.

GE Aviation has 9,000 employees across southwest Ohio and 1,500 in the Dayton area. The company employs 2,500 engineers and scientists and has hired 1,500 engineers for its Cincinnati-area worksites just in the past few years — and at good salaries.

Employee pay “is definitely above the mean,” said Gary Mercer, GE Aviation vice president of engineering. “It’s above the bar in those terms.”

The company said it will invest $100 million in capital improvements at the Evendale campus for the center, and it told this newspaper this week that it plans to invest $300 million in southwest Ohio facilities in the next three years.

Much of this is fueled by the company’s $1 billion in research and development spending each year.

GE Aviation’s electrical power research center is on River Park Drive on the University of Dayton campus.

In 2012, the University of Cincinnati received a $5 million “Ohio Third Frontier” grant from the state that will be used by UCRI to purchase equipment for joint GE/UCRI research activities.

Kristi Tanner, a JobsOhio managing director, said Ohio is the top supplier to airplane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing and has more than 100,000 workers in the aerospace industry.

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