WIRE-Net is finalizing its 2020 VISION strategic direction for the next three years. We’ve researched the emerging issues confronting greater Cleveland’s manufacturing sector, interviewed dozens of Ohio and United States manufacturing experts, conducted a series of manufacturing focus groups with member and non-member firms, organized a four-hour Future Search to identify and prioritize the challenges, and have been digesting this information and more to set our future direction. Over 130 people have been engaged in our 2020 VISION plan so far.
(Sorry for the obscure reference to Charlie Haden's version of the Gene Autry song!)
WIRE-Net's last full overhaul of its strategic direction was in 2013. In Northeast Ohio, we were still clawing our way out of the Great Recession, particularly in manufacturing. The changes we see now in the manufacturing sector had their genesis years ago, but the pace of change sure seems like it has accelerated. This is one of the observations from WIRE-Net's Future Search, held on April 21st.
It’s that time of year when many manufacturers are making plans for the new year, and organizations that work closely with manufacturers are doing likewise, while also trying to keep on top of changes in the manufacturing sector.
An initiative proposing a Cleveland-only 85% minimum wage increase was brought forward months ago, which would have phased in a $15-an-hour minimum wage (starting with $12 an hour in January 2018) in Cleveland while the rest of the state remained at $8.15. WIRE-Net, The Greater Cleveland Partnership, Mayor Frank Jackson, Council President Kevin Kelley and others opposed this misguided local minimum wage ballot issue because it would place the City of Cleveland at a disadvantage, hinder job creation, business growth, and the overall momentum the city is now experiencing.
First, we’ve got a Columbus based, union-backed group stirring up Cleveland residents to press for a Cleveland-only 85% increase in the minimum wage (which is currently set under Ohio law at $8.10/hour). A noble objective, no doubt, to raise the minimum wage – but for Cleveland only? There is still significant wrangling underway in Ohio courts about when this might appear on the ballot (and if it is even constitutional for cities to set their own minimum wage), but it seems very likely that it will be on the ballot within a few months, if not in November.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently published an editorial concerning the proposed Cleveland-only 85% increase in the City’s minimum wage.
The editorial pointed out several flaws in the approach being proposed. WIRE-Net’s survey of its Cleveland-based manufacturing stakeholders indicates that the proposal would push jobs and investment out of Cleveland.
For the last 30 years, my work has focused on working with Cleveland based manufacturers and helping them compete, invest, grow and add jobs in the city.
At WIRE-Net, Manufacturing Matters, because, as we like to put it, manufacturing multiplies, manufacturing pays, exports, and innovates.
What we mean by this is that every manufacturing job is the foundation for up to 5 additional jobs in other industry sectors, the highest employment multiplier of any industry. Manufacturing pays 17% more in wages than other sectors. 52% of U.S. exports are in the manufacturing sector. Finally, 75% of private sector research and development comes from the manufacturing sector, helping ensure that American manufacturing remains on the cutting edge of new products and technologies.
Over 28,000 Ohio clean energy jobs can be found in manufacturing, and of those, nearly 7,700 are in the solar sector and 1,138 are in wind. This is the most manufacturing jobs of any of the states included in the Clean Jobs Midwest survey released today. Nationally, each manufacturing job creates another 5.6 additional jobs, so NE Ohio’s Clean Energy sector drives a total of over 150,000 jobs. Ohio firms make everything from solar panels and wind turbine generators and fasteners, to roof and ground mounted solar racking systems and more.
Nearly 25% of Ohio’s 100,783 clean energy jobs are located in the 7 counties surrounding Cleveland.
PUCO decision expected imminently. Now is the time for action!
FirstEnergy (FE) and American Electric Power (AEP) have filed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Riders before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).