MAGNET to share the secrets of attracting and retaining employees in the manufacturing industry


A frequent concern in the manufacturing industry is how to attract and keep talented people. “It’s the number one thing we hear from manufacturers,” says Matt Fieldman, vice president for external affairs for MAGNET. “It’s probably the number one thing plaguing Northeast Ohio employers in general.”

So next Thursday, August 6, MAGNET will host a free seminar to address workforce needs in the manufacturing industry – sharing the secrets of successful manufacturers in the region and telling some not-so-pleasant truths about hiring the right people.

“Develop Your Workforce for Growth” will feature three speakers from successful area manufacturers who will share their secrets to successful hiring and retention of top talent. Reggie Stover, vice president of people and talent for Fairmount Santrol will share Fairmount’s best practices and strategies for talent retention and Kenton Woodhead, material manager of Royal Plastics will discuss the challenges of addressing the incumbent workforce.

Bill Swan, training coordinator of Swagelok, will talk about Right Skills Now, a collaborative pilot program created between MAGNET, Tri-C and Swagelok that offers accelerated training for manufacturing jobs. After completing the program, graduates can choose to either stay at Swagelok or take a job elsewhere.

“It’s the chicken-or-the-egg problem: How do you get the job without experience,” explains Fieldman. “The idea is let’s create fast-track training programs where we develop the workforce.”

Fieldman says the program is designed to give workers a leg up in securing mid-level manufacturing jobs. “The average salary in the manufacturing world is $55,000 for a middle skills job that is 9-5 and 40 hours a week,” he says. “We can help scale up people for whom college is not an option or white collar isn’t the right path. This program makes these jobs inclusive and accessible to people.”

MAGNET plans to expand the Right Skills Now program across Northeast Ohio. “This is real talk, this is tough love for some manufacturers,” says Fieldman of Thursday’s seminar. "You can’t get experienced people and not pay. If you want entry-level people, you have to be prepared to train them. That’s where MAGNET comes in: we help small- and medium-size manufacturers attract, retain, and develop their people for the long term.”

The speakers will be followed by a brainstorming session. The seminar runs from 9 am to 11:30 am at Lakeland Community College Holden University Center. Registration is preferred, but walk-ins are welcome.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: 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.