CLEVELAND, OH – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh joined leadership from the Cleveland-based Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), employers, workers and students, to show Sec. Walsh the manufacturing innovation taking place in Cleveland and press for more investment in Ohio manufacturing innovation. The U.S. Senate recently passed the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which included key provisions from Brown to make a once-in-a-generation investment in American science, technology and innovation to help the U.S. compete with China and other global competitors.

“We want the technologies that will drive the next generation of U.S. economic growth and manufacturing to be developed in America, and to put people to work at good-paying jobs in America,” said Brown. “We know the Ohio has some of the best manufacturing talent in the country, because of organizations like MAGNET. We just need investment. President Biden and Secretary Walsh’s Build Back Better agenda will invest in Ohio manufacturing, and put workers at the center of our economy.”

“MAGNET is a model of how successful partnerships, scaling up apprenticeships, and upskilling can create a stronger, more prepared workforce,” said Secretary Walsh. “Critical investments in workforce training, as proposed in the Build Back Better Agenda, can help expand our manufacturing sector and create more pathways to the middle class.

MAGNET advocates for training the next generation of manufacturing workers and partners with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to train high school students to work in manufacturing industries. MAGNET is proudly a part of the US. Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) as a subgrantee from the State of Ohio’s MEP program.

“It takes a village to do this work and public money public partnership is a huge component to enable social service providers, education institutes and manufacturers coming together to solve this once and for all,” said Ethan Karp, President and CEO of MAGNET. “That village approach is the only way we’re going to fix a problem that has occurred for decades that is the innovation not treating it as silver bullets that can independently solve this problem.”

MAGNET’s ACCESS to Manufacturing Careers program, which is designed for people who want to get into entry-level jobs in manufacturing, was also highlighted on the tour.

A graduate of the program, Nova Feeney who now works as a machinist at E.C. Kitzel & Sons, Inc., shared how she entered the field.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I thought why not try manufacturing. I like doing things with my hands and making things and I love it,” said Feeney who participated in a young adult cohort of the program.

Richard Jackson, who was in prison for two and a half years and when he was released he said he just wanted a job when he entered the ACCESS to Manufacturing program more than 15 years ago.

“I said I just want a job and my career coach said why just a job why not a career and that kind of woke me up,” said Jackson, who is now a press operator at Talan Products.

Competitors like China spend billions propping up state-owned enterprises and subsidizing research and development, sometimes even cheating American workers and businesses. The USICA will ensure the technologies that will drive the next generation of economic growth and manufacturing – from semiconductors to hydrogen buses to the next generation jet engine – will be developed in America, and put Ohioans to work at good-paying jobs.

More specifically, USICA will:

  • Provide funding to support existing institutes and create at least 15 Manufacturing USA institutes, by committing $1.5 billion through 2025
  • Promote more direct collaboration with minority-serving institutions
  • Integrate the Manufacturing Extension Program – which provides critical assistance to small and medium-sized manufacturers