MAGNET Thanks President Barack Obama for His Visit and Support of Manufacturing

President Barack Obama visited the offices and workshop of MAGNET: Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network on Wednesday, March 18. “This was a fantastic opportunity for us to show the President first-hand how the state and federal investments in the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program are helping manufactures grow in Northeast Ohio,” said Dan Berry, MAGNET’s President and CEO. “A sitting President has never visited an MEP affiliate, and it was exciting that MAGNET was the first host of such a visit.”

Since the President’s focus was on the Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s impact on local manufacturers, MAGNET asked the CEO’s of four local client companies – OsteoSymbionics, Vadxx, EcoChem, and Cleveland Whiskey – to meet the President and describe their new products and processes. Ethan Karp, MAGNET’s Vice President for Client Services, was the President’s tour guide.

The President was thoroughly engaged with all of the companies’ CEOs he talked with, and expressed multiple times how what MAGNET was doing was very important and interesting,” said Karp.

Each CEO talked about their exciting technology, and how MAGNET has assisted them in bringing their products to market. He was excited about the past, present, and future of manufacturing in Northeast Ohio.”

During his tour of Cleveland Whiskey, the President stated, “This is a great example of how public-private partnership has created American business, employed Americans, and started to export – and we want to see if we can duplicate this across the board.”

Afterwards, during his speech for The City Club of Cleveland, the President joked that he didn’t sample the whiskey before his public appearance – although he was taking some home to try.

Much of his speech for The City Club, and his answers to the audience’s questions, focused on linking community college education to employment. This paralleled earlier discussions at MAGNET in which the President also learned about MAGNET’s efforts in workforce and talent development, including efforts to help employers find, recruit, and train the employees they need to grow, both through direct work with companies and through partnerships developed with community colleges, high schools and others. 

MAGNET, a Cleveland-based nonprofit founded in 1984, ensures that small and medium-sized manufacturers have the resources they need to innovate and grow their businesses. The organization receives both funding from the federal government and state funding through the Ohio Manufacturing Extension PartnershipMAGNET covers an 18-county area of Northeast Ohio, and is one of six affiliates through the Ohio MEP program. The President toured the organization’s Manufacturing Innovation Center, a workshop with a wide variety of equipment and machines devoted. To date, hundreds of small- and medium-sized manufacturers in Northeast Ohio have utilized MAGNET’s engineers, growth advisors, and equipment to create, design, and launch innovative products.

The nonprofit organization also helps employers find, recruit, and train the employees they need to grow. At the same time, these entry-level and middle-skilled jobs are on-ramps to the middle class; with an average salary of $55,000, manufacturing jobs have a 31 percent premium over their counterparts in other sectors of the economy. Manufacturing employs roughly 19 percent of Northeast Ohio’s workforce, and indirectly drives nearly half the region’s economy. MAGNET counts over 50,000 new manufacturing jobs in the past three years, with over 10,000 currently open throughout the region. Through working with community colleges, universities, and even local school districts, MAGNET aspires to expand the pipeline and connect more Northeast Ohioans to local manufacturing jobs.

According to Ethan Karp, “The President’s visit validates the importance and centrality of small manufacturers to Northeast Ohio.”

In addition to MAGNET appreciating the President’s personal visit, the organization also applauds his continued commitment to ensuring the strength of manufacturing throughout the nation. His announcements in Cleveland – including new investments in manufacturing nationally – will continue to drive economic growth, vitality, and new jobs in Cleveland and around the country.

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