New Report: State of Manufacturing Focused Career Technical Education in Greater Cleveland

Manufacturing Works, with funding from The Fred A. Lennon Charitable Trust, commissioned a report in partnership with New Growth Group and MJ Crocker & Associates to examine if additional manufacturing career-technical education (CTE) programming for high school students in Greater Cleveland would bring a new pool of potential workers into the manufacturing workforce.


Based on data gathered and numerous interviews with active participants and stakeholders, this study confirms that there is insufficient CTE programming specifically on the eastside of Cleveland and adjacent suburbs. Overall the analysis found: 


  • While manufacturers throughout the region have unmet hiring needs, job availability for manufacturing workers is greatest in the eastern and southeast suburbs. 
  • CTE training capacity for secondary school students is limited and the existing facilities are concentrated in the suburban school districts. The exception is Max S. Hayes High School, the Cleveland Municipal School District’s career-tech school for manufacturing located on the near west-side of Cleveland. CTE programs in the eastern and southeastern suburbs where the job demand is greatest are at capacity in places and have opportunity for more enrollment in others, while the western suburban CTE capacity and the capacity at Max Hayes is underutilized. There is little capacity in the eastern neighborhoods of Cleveland and adjacent suburbs. 
  • The most often cited reason by educators and employers for low participation in some CTE programs is a lack of interest by parents and students. Most believe this disinterest is a result of an outdated mental model of manufacturing including a lack of awareness of career pathways available to students. Closer proximity to manufacturing jobs and deliberate efforts to increase manufacturing career awareness among parents and students are two factors seemingly related to higher levels of interest in CTE programs. 
  • Overall, CTE capacity for the region is 811 total seats which cannot make a significant impact on the manufacturing employment gap. Each year approximately 300-400 students graduate. Recent studies suggest there are ~4,300 job openings annually for CTE-aligned employment. Adding capacity is difficult due to funding limitations, the need for small class size due to safety considerations given the equipment in use and finding qualified instructors and employment partners. 
  • In addition to a lack of access to training facilities, students on the east-side of Cleveland and adjacent suburbs are disadvantaged by the lack of availability of transportation alternatives to access employer sites, especially in the regions of greatest job growth which are the eastern and southeastern suburbs.


The challenges found through this analysis require creative and collective solutions. In order to address the changing workforce demands in manufacturing, employers must be engaged in a substantive way on an ongoing basis. A report commissioned by local partner Cuyahoga Community College found that when employers contribute essential knowledge and resources to improve education and training programs, and are consistently engaged, the programs produce better outcomes and are more sustainable. Employer-led organizations with strong leadership and clear goals are necessary for a successful partnership. The strength of employer-led interventions has been proven locally and nationwide. 


Building on proven strategies and local success, employers must be empowered to co-create unique solutions with education and community partners. Employers can provide oversight, give guidance on program content and design,assist in program delivery, provide facilities for program delivery, create internships, apprenticeships and other work-based learning opportunities available to students, and contribute financial or in-kind resources to a partnership dedicated to strengthening the region’s career-technical education pipeline. Helping employers use a collective voice provides clarity, consistency,and weight to efforts and provides away for smaller companies to engage in the process. 


Manufacturing Works is committed to addressing these challenges through partnering to organize employers and connecting the educational systems to create collaborative strategies to improve the region’s talent pipeline. Contact Manufacturing Works more information about the report, or their work to optimize and increase manufacturing CTE program capacity in the region. 


If you have a workforce problem that needs a deeper analysis to identify the root cause and key factors to create creative solutions, contact one of our experts today. We will work with you to develop an investigative framework and co-create collaborative strategies which gets to the heart of your challenge.