The New Manufacturing Center is a classroom, Museum – 74 combined. | So Good News


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Jennie Becker cuts a strip of aluminum and turns a metal mold while students at Cleveland’s Garrett Morgan High School make watches.

“I need volunteers,” said the new $17 million Business Lab and Student Learning Center, Manufacturing Innovation, which opened last week. said Becker, an instructor for the Department of Technology and Jobs. to a career.

Becker directed six students and had them gather around a table, each pulling a lever to press the mold. One by one, they bent the blank into the shape of the state of Ohio to create a cookie cutter.

“This is an example of metal bending, a metal manufacturing process that we can do as much as we want,” he told the students. “We can send them home.”

The Friday morning lesson was a semi-factory; It’s a first for the new center, which is part museum and part classroom, and is already attracting national attention. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attended its opening ceremony Thursday night, praising its potential to boost the city’s and the nation’s manufacturing economy because of its support for students.

By handcuffing many graduates into debt and putting college out of reach for others. Career and technical education programs around the country, like the Cleveland center, are helping students acquire skills for mid-level jobs without piling on large financial obligations.

For students in the nation’s poorest school districts; Cleveland education officials say the center is part of a plan to put kids on a path to a well-paying career after high school.

“This … showcases the good-paying manufacturing jobs our economy has created for thousands of students,” Yellen said. “They will learn that this is an exciting technology and a great source of employment in the future,” she told The 74.

Next to the equipment at the center are potential manufacturing jobs and their hourly wages — $17-25 for brake press operators; They list $32-45 for mechanical technicians or $40-$60 for mechanical engineers.

Housed in a long-closed elementary school built in the 1960s, the center is the new headquarters of the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), a local manufacturing industry association. About a third is laser cutting, developed in collaboration with the Great Lakes Science Center; It houses a production demonstration room for processes such as vacuum machining and metal forging, and a learning hall for museum-style exhibits.

MAGNET CEO Ethan Karp showed us on a tour of the site this April how a former Cleveland elementary school has been transformed into a business workspace and demonstration center. (Patrick O’Donnell)

The Cleveland school district, which sold Margaret Ireland Elementary School to MAGNET two years ago, plans to rent five classrooms at the center and bring 3,000 sixth- and ninth-graders on field trips each year to see demonstrations and exhibits.

Autumn Russell, who leads a consortium that helps Cleveland-area kids find jobs after graduation, hopes the center will break down misconceptions students have about the manufacturing industry.

“Students can see what 21st century manufacturing looks like and introduce them to good-paying careers that are right in their own backyards,” she said.

Cleveland School District students test pump elevator with tour of new manufacturing center. (Patrick O’Donnell)

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown also praised the center for using a former school in the low-income Hough neighborhood to reach students in the high-poverty district.

“I like where you are,” Brown said. “This school is a grade school, so I like it. I love this symbol. Hundreds and hundreds, mostly of Cleveland public school kids, loved it; But children from other public schools will also come through here and have the opportunity to operate the equipment and machinery. And they will understand that there are different paths to the middle class.”

For MAGNET, The site replaces a small, crowded house that limits what it can do for students and businesses that need help starting or expanding. Leah Epstein, MAGNET’s vice president of engagement, said regional manufacturers need more than 10,000 employees. MAGNET, its Early College; Although some training programs have already been sponsored, including the Early Careers Apprenticeship Programme. She said it’s important to get students more interested at an early age.

“We expect this number to double or triple in the next 10 years as the baby boom continues,” she said. “If we don’t do something now, we’re going to be in a bad place.”

National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, Some similar classes are offered in Pennsylvania, but many facilities offer tours to the public or school groups, but MAGNET could not find another site where the center would offer lessons, Epstein said. Factories specialize in certain jobs, though not many, and can shut down production lines for student visits every day, she said.

The program asks Cleveland schools to bring 6th graders to the center for short periods of time as add-ons to annual field trips to the Science Museum. If ninth graders come for a half day each year, it’s more for the extra interested students.

Additionally, an outdoor STEM-themed playground is open to the public. A mural of six black inventors on site teaches all the games and climbing equipment. A giant fulcrum with chain links keeps pace as students try to lift a basket of bowling balls. A “geo-climber” with several foils asks students how many angles or triangles the structure has. It has sliding weights so students can find a balance between the two sides.

A STEM-themed playground and mural featuring Black innovators open to the public at Cleveland’s new Manufacturing Center. (Patrick O’Donnell)

Student Don Joyce didn’t want to go to the center, but was impressed by the teacher who told him to be open to learning new things.

“I finished it and loved it,” he said. Now he’s thinking about the technical side of the business.

“It’s interesting,” he says with a smile, “and it makes a lot of money.”

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