10 Ways MAGNET’s Building Has Become a Beacon for Manufacturing
When MAGNET outgrew its headquarters, we could have found nondescript industrial space in the suburbs. But we wanted to build something meaningful. Not just a building, but a beacon. A light to draw people into manufacturing. To illuminate the path to a brighter future.
We wanted to raise the profile of our industry, spotlight manufacturing as a great career, and build a place to architect our industry’s destiny. The one envisioned in MAGNET’s Blueprint for the Future of Manufacturing in Northeast Ohio. Our goal is to transform the region into a global center for smart manufacturing, creating 30,000 jobs and boosting our GRP by $40 billion by 2032.
So, we raised $20 million and last October we opened MAGNET’s Manufacturing Innovation, Technology & Job Center in the heart of Cleveland’s historic Hough neighborhood. It was so important to us to be in the heart of the city. In a neighborhood with students who deserve bright futures, with people who need great careers. We transformed a long-vacant school into the Disneyland of manufacturing.
We built a place unlike anything else in the country – a prototyping lab, a factory, a park, a museum, a workspace, a school, a technology accelerator, and a gathering space. Our plan was to bring in thousands of students every year, plus loads of current and prospective manufacturing employees to experience and learn what makes the industry not only vital for our region but a fun and rewarding career choice. Our goal was to become a meeting place for the community. A place where someone could enter with a dream and leave with a job.
It's now been nine months since we opened our doors, and the response has exceeded even our wildest expectations. Here are ten incredible things that have happened.
- Almost 10,000 people have visited the Manufacturing Center – community members, job seekers, manufacturers, students, politicians, and many more. They see, touch, and experience the latest technology in our massive manufacturing showcase. They tour our innovation lab. They use our meeting space. And the most common thing we hear: “This is incredible. I had no idea manufacturing was like this!"
- More than 1,800 K-12 students have toured our space to experience a world of hands-on technology and learn about the amazing companies that make the products that run the world. As they learn about 3D printing and engineering, bit-by-bit we’re inspiring them to be the makers and leaders of tomorrow.
- More than 250 manufacturers have come through our advanced technology showcase to see the latest in Industry 4.0 technology: 3D printing, sensors, machine learning, virtual reality, robotics, automation and more. We’re helping them see the potential of technology and learn how to build the factories of the future.
- We’ve helped dozens of manufacturing entrepreneurs, start-ups, and innovators in our 20,000-square-foot prototyping lab. What Silicon Valley incubators are for tech startups—that’s what we are for manufacturers, turning ideas into prototypes, products, and profits.
- We’ve become the go-to spot for meetings and events – hosting almost 300 so far. The Cleveland Foundation’s board meeting, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s administration conference, Bank of America’s CEO town hall, Cleveland Councilwoman Howse’s annual meeting, and the Cleveland Leadership Center’s annual meeting and new leaders of Cleveland reception, just to name a few. Every meeting helps us raise the profile of manufacturing and remind business and community leaders that manufacturing is an engine that drives half our regional economy.
- Our engineers built a special robot that serves drinks at our events and tours, and it’s served up more than 2,000 beverages so far!
- Our workforce programs are expanding and putting more people to work in manufacturing. We have two signature programs. Our Early College, Early Career program offers internships, on-the-job training, and college pathways to high school students. Our ACCESS to Manufacturing Careers is a boot camp style program that trains people for new manufacturing careers in a few short weeks. Since the Manufacturing Center opened, we’ve graduated our largest classes ever in both programs.
- We’ve hosted monthly Community Open Houses, where local residents get a first-hand look at manufacturing and all the opportunities it brings by touring MAGNET or local manufacturing facilities. Nothing helps draw people into new careers more than showing them what the jobs actually look like and showcasing the state-of-the-art machines that run modern factories.
- With the leadership of Hough resident Lamar Abner, MAGNET collaborated with MidTown Cleveland to host the Hough Holiday Toy Drive. More than 500 gifts were donated and distributed to neighborhood children at Christmas.
- Our STEM-themed playground and basketball court are a true gathering space for the community. They’re busy day and night, becoming a calling card for manufacturing, constantly reminding people that manufacturing is a force for good.
What makes me most proud is seeing so many different people using our space and getting excited about the future of manufacturing. Our vision is to bring the right talent, technology, innovation, and leadership together to make things better for everyone who lives in Northeast Ohio. And that’s exactly what’s happening in our building every day.
When I see students, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and community leaders all mixing together at MAGNET and getting equally excited about manufacturing – that’s when I know our building has transcended bricks and mortar and become that powerful beacon for change we envisioned.