Call For Action: Training for Manufacturing Work

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The manufacturing industry is ripe for job hunters looking to work in northeast Ohio.  If you’re planning your career or you’re interested in a new line of work you might consider the manufacturing sector.

Savannah Eby, 20, is a student from the Cleveland Institute of Art who never imagined she’d be working in manufacturing.  Her love of art coupled with her need to find a full time job steered her in the direction of industrial design.

“It’s one of those jobs you are passionate about that you’re constantly inspired about,” she told Call For Action Reporter Lorrie Taylor.

TeamNEO CEO Tom Waltermire said Ohio’s manufacturing industry is no longer about big car makers.  “Today manufacturing is generally done by smaller companies that are globally competitive,” he said.

Small and competitive is a perfect description for the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network, or MAGNET, located near the campus of Cleveland State University.

That’s where Eby interns alongside Aaron Marshall, a senior product development engineer.

“We work with companies of all sizes,” said Marshall.

He and the rest of MAGNET’s staff help manufacture products and parts for businesses all over the country and for government agencies, too.

“So basically what we do here is we take your idea and we make it a reality,” he said, describing how the company’s employees work with customers.

Savannah and Aaron helped design the prototype for the Swiss Tech Body Guard, a tool used by motorists to break car windows when they’re trapped inside.

MAGNET’s staff also created the goggles used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“To get a product to market it has to go through an engineer, so anytime there’s a product developed, an engineer touches it.  Anytime there’s a product that’s made to look nicer, an industrial designer is going to touch it, so there’s always going to be a need for industrial designers and engineers,” said Marshall.

TeamNEO’s Waltermire said there’s also a need for people with elementary skills who can staff factory floors.  Industry insiders say job candidates are in short supply because high schools are cutting their shop programs.

“Some of the most in-demand jobs right now are welders, computerized machinery, operators.  Manufacturers across the area are crying to get more people  who have that training,” said Waltermire.

It doesn’t take long to learn the necessary skills.  Area schools, like Cuyahoga Community College, are getting students job-ready in as little as four weeks.  Entry level positions immediately following graduation typically pay $12 to $15 an hour.

Industrial designers and engineers can expect to make between $45,000 and $50,000.

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