MAGNET’s new Midtown manufacturing hub aims to create jobs, grow local economy

Last Thursday, Oct. 27, about 300 people came to witness the official opening of nonprofit the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network’s (MAGNET) new headquarters and manufacturing hub at Chester Avenue and East 63rd Street in Midtown—a hub that officials predict will create 30,000 jobs and boost the regional economy by $40 billion by 2032.

Grand opening of MAGNET’s new headquarters and manufacturing hub in MidtownMAGNET last December announced its plans to move into a new space to become a high-tech inspiration for a sector now providing stable careers in a clean and innovative environment.

Designed by Bialosky Cleveland and it built by The Krill Co., the new 53,000-square-foot facility in the former Margaret A. Ireland School building, purchased in 2020 from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), will connect people to training and jobs, increase manufacturing innovation, and transform Northeast Ohio factories with advanced technologies.

The $18.5 million imagined building is now MAGNET’s Manufacturing Innovation, Technology & Job Center that will help the company execute its Blueprint for the Future of Manufacturing in Northeast Ohio—a critical component in the vision to transform Northeast Ohio into a global center for smart manufacturing and create 30,000 jobs and boost the regional economy by $40 billion.

“This building was designed in service to the Manufacturing Blueprint launched in 2021,” says MAGNET president and CEO Ethan Karp. “Students will experience a world of hands-on technology and learn about the many manufacturing careers open to them. Northeast Ohio manufacturers will learn how to best use Industry 4.0 technologies to grow their businesses and see a new talent pool just outside our doors. And start-ups will turn their ideas into prototypes, products, and profits.”

The STEM playground designed with the Great Lakes Science Center and Cleveland MetroparksHighlights of the new center include:

Innovation: 20,000-square-foot prototyping lab to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers and start-ups access innovative advanced manufacturing equipment and engineering expertise.

Jobs: A job concierge to connect people with training and career opportunities.

Career Awareness: Raise the visibility and awareness of high paying, hi-tech manufacturing careers through interactive displays, videos, tours, special events, and hands-on activities.

Learning: 6,900-square-foot learning wing in partnership with CMSD that will host 3,000 K-12 students a year.

Technology: Technology showcase and engineering floor to give students and companies hands-on experience interacting with the latest in Industry 4.0 technology, including collaborative robots, real-time data monitoring, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things.

Immersive Play: A STEM playground designed with the Great Lakes Science Center that will be an official outpost of the center, and Cleveland Metroparks to introduce kids to science, engineering, and manufacturing with things like 3D sand printing and sensor-enabled basketball hoops.

Karp says the center will engage and prepare the workforce of tomorrow through interactive tour experiences, promote smart manufacturing and innovation for Northeast Ohio’s small and medium-sized manufacturers, and help build thriving, equitable communities who see manufacturing as part of their future.

“We’re at a critical turning point for American manufacturing,” Karp said in a statement. “China is racing ahead with smart factories. Broken supply chains have shown us our weak spots. We need to bring more manufacturing back home. “Northeast Ohio can do this, but only with more skilled talent, greater technology adoption and increased innovation. Our new manufacturing hub brings all of this together so we can lead the world.”

Additionally, the new headquarters are the latest addition to the growing Innovation District helping to revitalize MidTown.

On Friday, Oct. 28 MAGNET held a community open house to allow the local community to engage with the space for the first time. Guest toured the facility, including the prototyping lab, talent wing, technology showcase and engineering floor, and STEM playground. They met with MAGNET representatives and others from the Northeast Ohio manufacturing community. 

More than 100 local companies, individuals, and philanthropic organizations donated $13 million to bring the Manufacturing Center to life.

Top donors include Cleveland Foundation, The Lozick Family Foundation, TransDigm Group, Gund Foundation, Nordson, Lincoln Electric, Swagelok, Parker Hannifin, The Kelvin & Eleanor Smith Foundation, Sherwin-Williams, City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, State of Ohio, and Ohio Department of Development.

"We are extraordinary grateful for all the supporters who made this building a reality and enable us to continue helping manufacturing in Northeast Ohio grow,” says Karp.

Many other partner organizations will co-locate in the manufacturing hub, including the Great Lakes Science Center, CMSD, Towards Employment, Cleveland Water Alliance, Women In Manufacturing, NeoSTEM Ecosystem, and TIES.

MAGNET’s Manufacturing Center is open to the public.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.