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Gov. Kate Brown, while on a trade mission to Japan, says OSG Tools in Tokyo and Mitsubishi Material and Tools sign on to OMIC, one exploring site construction.

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Partnerships with two Japanese companies were recently secured at the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center in Scappoose.

Two new Japanese companies have pledged to take part in the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation District in Scappoose.

The announcement was made by Gov. Kate Brown on Oct. 12, following a trip to Japan for Oregon's annual trade mission to Asia.

OSG Tools, a Tokyo-based company, committed to be the first major tenant at the center that in Scappoose. In addition to OMIC membership, OSG Tools is exploring constructing their own facility on a site adjacent to the OMIC building, a news release from Brown's office states.

While in Asia, Brown also met with Mitsubishi Material and Tools, and the company committed to become a member of OMIC, where it can conduct research and development activities at the center.

Gov. Kate Brown"This collaborative approach to applied research and advanced manufacturing offers exciting new opportunities for both Japan and Oregon and helps create jobs in our rural areas," Brown stated in the release. "These companies could invest anywhere, but the unique opportunity we've created with OMIC, and the relationships we've built in Japan through trade missions like this, makes Oregon their clear choice."

OMIC, which has been promised $21.5 million in state funding so far, relies on a collaborative approach between manufacturing and higher education to solve the manufacturing industry's problems, while pioneering new techniques and production strategies.

Prior to Mitsubishi Materials and OSG Tools agreeing to take part in OMIC, The Boeing Company, Vigor, Daimler Trucks, Hangsterfer's Laboratories, Blount International, Silver Eagle Manufacturing, and ATI Materials, all signed on with paid partnership agreements. OMIC also relies on higher education providers and public partnership agreements with Oregon Tech, Portland State University, Portland Community College, Oregon State University and Business Oregon.

State Sen. Betsy Johnson (D—Scappoose) has lauded OMIC for its impact to the county and its prospect for new jobs and businesses in Columbia County.

Johnson said the OMIC will be a key component in Boeing's operations.

"One of the reasons Scappoose was so attractive was that in Gresham, there are 1,600 employees turning out the flying machines of the future just as fast as they can, filling the biggest book of business in the history of the world," Johnson said of Boeing's production site in Gresham.

She emphasized Boeing's presence in the global aerospace market, noting planes are more in-demand now, as countries that never offered travel by plane do now.

"The demand for Boeing airplanes is huge, it's phenomenal," Johnson added.

PCC hires new training director

In addition to two new companies pledging partnership agreements at OMIC, Portland Community College announced earlier this week that it will bring on Chris Holden as PCC's new training director at OMIC.

PCC is slated to build a training center in Scappoose near the airport, to accompany OMIC. The college will act as a first step in education toward a career in advanced manufacturing.

Holden owns KCR Manufacturing and boasts more than 30 years in the industry. He brings experience in pattern making as a technician, apprentice, engineer, manager, and now business owner.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Mike Myers, OIT professor and OMIC executive, shows off warehouse space that will eventually house industrial machines and apprentice workers. Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday, Oct. 12, announced two new OMIC partners while on a trade mission to Japan.

"Chris helped revive the manufacturing program of study at the Center for Advanced Learning, a multi-district CTE high school in Gresham, by advising faculty, aligning the curriculum to industry standards and creating a positive image of manufacturing careers through a community Manufacturing Day event called Makers Gone Pro," a news release states. "He has recently developed a multi-employer Machinist apprenticeship and has partnered with PCC on these efforts."

Holden is scheduled to begin as the OMIC training director on Monday, October 23.

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