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Magnet, Wire-Net Get Together to Speed up Cleveland Manufacturing Sector

By Rachel Abbey McCafferty, Crain's Cleveland Business

A new collaboration between manufacturing advocacy and economic development groups Magnet and Wire-Net is designed to help manufacturers in Cleveland grow and to increase the number of jobs available in the city.

The program, Accelerate Cleveland Manufacturing, will feature what the organizations call “growth workshops” with individual companies, as well as larger learning and networking events about topics such as operational improvements and workforce development.

It builds off the strengths of both Magnet and Wire-Net, said Ethan Karp, vice president of client services at Magnet. It also enables the group to leverage Wire-Net's relationships with companies in the city with Magnet's Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturers (PRISM) program, which combines the organization's consulting services with resources throughout the region to foster growth.

The planning for the program got underway about a year ago, borne from a desire to work more closely together, Karp said. The two groups have “extremely complementary” services, he said, noting that Wire-Net is member-based and focused on community-building activities, while Magnet has no membership and provides “heavy-duty services” based on growth.

Magnet and Wire-Net have worked together in the past — the group's roles in the regional “Make it in America” growth program are one example — but he said this type of client-facing program is unprecedented.

The Accelerate Cleveland Manufacturing program has been underway after a soft launch about three months ago, but it will kick off officially with a holiday networking event this Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Magnet.The program is funded primarily by the Cleveland Foundation, which in recent years has put a focus on strengthening the urban core. As such, the foundation no longer is agnostic about where jobs are created and who gets those jobs, said Shilpa Kedar, program director for economic development at the foundation. 

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