Magnet Unveils Vision to Boost Manufacturing in Northeast Ohio
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, or Magnet, along with more than 100 stakeholders on Tuesday presented a long-term vision to advance manufacturing in northeastern Ohio.
“Make It Better: A Blueprint for Manufacturing in Northeast Ohio,” brings together the insights of hundreds of manufacturing CEOs, community leaders, business leaders, academics, workers, students, and nonprofit leaders, the organization said.
“Manufacturing in Northeast Ohio has had its ups and downs, but the fact of the matter is the region remains a powerhouse that’s poised for growth,” said Dr. Ethan Karp, president and CEO of Magnet. “We’ve got all the pieces in place, but to make it happen we’ve got to bridge the talent gap, adopt cutting-edge technologies, and embrace innovation. While no one organization can change the course of our industry, it’s our hope that the stories, expertise, and detailed strategies presented in this Blueprint can show us all what’s possible in Northeast Ohio – and encourage us to work together to build a brighter future.”
According to the report, manufacturing constitutes nearly half of Northeastern Ohio’s economy directly, indirectly supports one million jobs, and makes up 38% of the state’s GDP. But it faces persistent challenges: namely, a talent gap and the slow adoption of innovative technologies.
In January 2020, almost 60% of manufacturers in the region said they couldn’t find the skilled workers they need to grow, the blueprint shows. Meanwhile, the Ohio MEP 2020 Manufacturing Survey found that investing in new technologies is near the bottom of the priority list for the vast majority of Northeast Ohio manufacturers.
The blueprint addresses these and other key issues by focusing on four key areas: talent, technology transformation, innovation, and leadership.
Among those companies pioneering new ground in technology transformation is M-7 Technologies and a related company, Center Street Technologies, in Youngstown.
The report cited these firms and their CEO, Michael Garvey, as an example of how advanced technology has transformed traditional manufacturing. M-7 Technologies, for example, has used high-precision measurements to perfect its machining and industrial reconditioning business. Center Street has taken additive manufacturing levels unthinkable a decade ago, housing one of the world’s largest 3D printers.
“Manufacturing is a critical driver of our regional economy,” said Bill Koehler, CEO of Team NEO. “Accelerating the pace of technological transformation and the growth of manufacturing career engagement will drive more equitable growth throughout our region, putting our region and all of our residents in a better position to prosper.”
According to Team NEO, innovations such as 3D printing could add an estimated $4.5 billion to northeastern Ohio’s economy. However, the region still lags in integrating new technology – dubbed Industry 4.0 – into its manufacturing culture, the report found.
Organizations such as the Manufacturing Innovation Council – an organization composed of many of Northeast Ohio’s leading companies – has identified key action areas to help bring the blueprint to life.
“Making products that matter is embedded in this region’s DNA given our rich history as a center of industrial innovation that powered America,” said Baiju R. Shah, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and leader of the Cleveland Innovation Project. “Through the blueprint, we now have the shared vision and commitment to build on that foundation and become the nation’s smart manufacturing capital.”
The blueprint and its partner organizations can be found at MakeItBetterOhio.org.
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.