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Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne Joins MAGNET and Industry Leaders to Empower Future Manufacturing Talent

Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne recently visited MAGNET’s Manufacturing Innovation, Technology, and Job Center to meet with the team and witness first-hand how MAGNET is developing a manufacturing workforce pipeline, beginning with industry awareness for middle school students in CMSD and the inner-ring suburbs. 

Mr. Ronayne shared that one of his goals includes “managed growth, which will see Northeast Ohio as a destination for manufacturing.” Combining local government, MAGNET, and industry leaders is seen as a “win-win” to make this growth happen.

Walking through MAGNET’s new facility, the County Executive noted that it is “not lost on him that the building is a renovated CMSD school nestled right in a county neighborhood.” The engagement with the community is evident in the groups that use the space regularly. During his visit, Mr. Ronayne chatted with members of the Birthing Beautiful Communities nonprofit and student groups from Cleveland’s Digital Academy. 

Joining the tour were Tom Schumann of E C Kitzel & Sons out of Parma,  Geoff Lipnevicius from Lincoln Electric and Stephen Lovass, Executive Vice President of Nordson. These local manufacturing leaders talked about MAGNET’s role as a conduit for their manufacturing needs and local resources and available talent. Resource barriers such as transportation, day care and social services were discussed among these leaders. MAGNET’s Early College Early Career (ECEC) and ACCESS programs can often address some of these issues, such as transportation, and offer exposure to soft skills and technical training to create a pipeline of interested talent who jump into manufacturing careers, often with starting wages of $18/hr. As the conversation developed, Mr. Ronayne excitedly admitted that he is “teaming with ideas” of how to flatten these barriers, especially for refugees, veterans, ex-offenders, and women. 

After touring the various classrooms, engineering areas and startup wall in MAGNET’s space, the County Executive joined sophomores from Cleveland’s Digital Academy as they built and raced cars in the hands-on Youth Manufacturing Experience. To the delight of his teammates, the car Mr. Ronayne helped create won the overall races! Engaging with these students and discussing their goals was a highlight of the afternoon. Before leaving, Mr. Ronayne was sure to connect a student interested in a manufacturing career with one of the companies on hand!

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