EDA University Center

July 30, 2018

Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs was first established as an U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center in 1996.  The Voinovich School University Center is a joint project with Bowling Green State University which collectively serves 59 rural Ohio counties: 32 Appalachian counties and 27 counties in northwestern Ohio.

EDA University Centers are a partnership of the federal government and academia that makes the varied and vast resources of universities available to the economic development community.

The ongoing support received through the EDA assists the Voinovich School in providing direct business assistance services, applied research initiatives and an annual State of the Region Conference.  The overall result is the positioning of the region for economic growth.


Direct Business Assistance

Voinovich School has fostered an environment of collaboration between regional economic development centers and agencies.  These collaborations aid the provision of direct business assistance services to businesses and entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurial Assistance

Professional staff members work directly with business owners and entrepreneurs to assess their businesses and help transform their ideas into products that can be commercialized in the marketplace.

A range of business services are available to clients such as business planning, marketing and industry studies, competitor analysis, marketing and sales plans, financial pro forma and modeling, cost-benefit analysis, technology assessments and manufacturing shop floor redesigns all focused on making the business more competitive and enabling growth and expansion.

Business Training

Profit Mastery workshop series is a nationally-known 16-hour training focused on creating financial awareness and subsequent management in small businesses.  This two day hands-on course is designed to walk business owners through financial statements to help them understand and maximize financial performance, evaluating their business from an informed perspective.

 Applied Research

Regional Capacity Building

The Mayors' Partnership for Progress, formed in 1995, is a non-profit consortium of mayors and city managers. Current focus areas include building capacity around infrastructure improvement, grantsmanship, energy efficiency, advanced technology and economic development.  The Voinovich School provides coordination and technical assistance to the Mayors’ Partnership for Progress.  The EDA University Center has provided access to resources for ongoing economic development conversations.

Emerging Industry Initiative: Energy

Job Trends and Projections

The Voinovich School produced a report in October 2017, investigating the status of four energy industries in Ohio: coal, oil and gas, solar and wind. This research was conducted as part of Ohio University’s EDA University Center. The report broadly examines Ohio’s energy industry trends and changes to delineate the current condition of energy-related jobs in the state juxtaposed with projections for the future.

The report finds that Ohio’s oil and gas and solar industry employment has been increasing at steady rates in recent years, while coal and wind have been decreasing. Due to commitments from the state and electric utilities companies to utilize more renewable sources, solar energy shows promise in Ohio. Meanwhile, with advancements in hydraulic fracturing techniques and access, Ohio has seen noteworthy development in the oil and gas industry, although the historic boom and bust cycle of this industry has put many on alert. Wind energy has suffered Ohio-specific impediments but may still grow in the future, whereas the coal industry has been experiencing a steady decline nationally. 

Biofuels/Biomass Feasibility Study

Voinovich School is completing a short feasibility study for Jackson County, Ohio to determine the feasibility of the county continuing to pursue woody and energy grass related biomass and biofuels companies as part of the County’s economic development strategy.

Community Consultations – Carroll County

Voinovich School in partnership with the Carroll County Commissioners Office provided a consult session with President/CEO of the International Economic Development Council, Jeff Finkle.  The discussion focused on leveraging economic development to sustainably capitalize on the shale industry.

Ohio Shale Development Community Impact Survey

During the summer of 2013, the Voinovich School distributed more than 500 surveys to local elected officials across 17 counties experiencing the majority of shale activity and development in Ohio. Report findings include:

  • Which shale development activities are being reported across the 17 counties surveyed.
  • The influence that shale development has had on population and how that has impacted local housing and public safety.
  • How shale development activities have impacted local infrastructure and environment.
  • Some of the ways that shale development has altered employment of area residents.
  • The influence of shale development on the local economy.

Results of the Ohio Shale Development Community Impact Survey were shared with the public via an informational webinar held in February 2014.  The webinar is accessible on YouTube. (http://www.ohio.edu/ce3/research/shale/shaleimpactsurvey.cfm)

Emerging Industry Initiative: Manufacturing

Regional Dashboard Maps

The employment dashboard allows individuals to examine employment by industry and establishment. Users can further search by county, by local development district, and by JobsOhio region. It is a regional deliverable that connects to the state of the region because it enables regional and local leaders to access critical industry information that can be used to attract new industries, link to the shale supply chain (small scale manufacturing in the region), and better position the region to plan for economic growth.


Employment Dashboard Webinar

A free hands on, how-to data webinar that allowed participants the opportunity to:

  • Access industry and employment data by county, local development district, or JobsOhio region
  • Find data on specific sectors
  • Learn how industries have grown or declined since 2006
  • Customize the user-friendly data for their county or region’s needs

State of the Region Study

The Voinovich School will present data on manufacturing growth and change in the region and the contribution of manufacturing to the regional economy.

State of the Region Conferences

Visit sotr.ohio.edu for additional information about any of the following conferences.

2018 Seventh Annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region Conference
“Changing the Narrative: Using Rural Wealth Creation to Transform the Region"

The 2018 Seventh Annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region conference on May 22 brought together over 250 public officials, regional economic development practitioners and representatives from businesses and organizations to discuss investing in the region.

2017 Sixth Annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region Conference
“A New Era in Economic Resiliency”

2016 Fifth Annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region Conference
"Exploring our Business Ecosystem"

Nearly 200 business and community leaders from across Southeastern Ohio gathered in Ohio University’s Baker Center on May 17, 2016 for the conference. The 2016 theme was “Exploring our Business Ecosystem,” facilitating discussions on non-bank financing; operational safety, assistance and design; filling the talent gaps in the workforce; and meeting human resources and regulatory requirements.

2015 Fourth Annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region Conference
"Manufacturing Workforce: Building Capacity"

More than 150 participants attended the May 12, 2015 conference, featuring keynote speaker Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, and offering public officials, regional economic development personnel and representatives from other businesses and organizations an opportunity to learn from a series of panel discussions and presentations.

2014 Third Annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region Conference
“Manufacturing in Appalachia: Opportunities Abound”

The May 20, 2014 third annual event addressed the region’s current status and opportunities in the manufacturing sector by bringing together national leaders and industry experts to discuss recent trends and developments.

2013 Ohio Appalachian State of the Region Conference
"Shale and Beyond"

The second annual Appalachian Ohio State of the Region conference titled "Shale and Beyond," was held on June 4th, 2013. The purpose of the conference was to promote an atmosphere for informational exchange across organizations, industries and communities in regards to shale gas.

2012 Ohio Appalachian State of the Region Conference
“Understanding the Boom-Bust Cycle for Greater Sustainability”




Jason Jolley, Ph.D. - Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor and MPA Director
Voinovich School/Ohio University
Building 21, The Ridges
Athens, Ohio 45701