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  • Marty Zimmerman

How Philanthropy is Impacting the Manufacturing Industry

Updated: Dec 7, 2023


Group of manufacturing workers wearing hardhats

According to an article from The Chronicle of Philosophy, in areas with high job vacancies, philanthropy has been playing a crucial role in boosting manufacturing. Manufacturers in cities such as Cleveland, Ohio, are experiencing a retiring workforce that has left an estimated 10,000 jobs unfilled. The industry's job gap is projected to hit two million by 2030. However, despite 50 years of layoffs and plant closings, manufacturing continues to be a pillar in the Northeast Ohio economy, with most job openings being entry-level. As a rising number of people prefer college to vocational education, more people will avoid these manufacturing jobs to find jobs that are more suited to their collegiate pursuits. Additionally, communities in large manufacturing cities may have little exposure to the industry due to statistically experiencing higher unemployment and underemployment rates.


Philanthropic efforts developed by community leaders aim to dismantle some of these barriers by providing manufacturing jobs to historically marginalized groups such as people of color, women, and formerly incarcerated people. This five-million-dollar initiative expects to create thousands of new manufacturing jobs. By diversifying their job ranks, Cleveland area manufacturers hope to improve the abandoned communities that were affected by plants closing or moving to the suburbs.


Additionally, philanthropy is investing copious amounts of money in the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, a Cleveland nonprofit consulting group that is leading the hiring advance by offering adult training and high school internships. In the last few years, the nonprofit has helped hire several hundred manufacturing employees and interns. While demand is still higher than the number of people entering the workforce, a considerable expansion is afoot. There are plans to train and hire about 3,000 workers by 2025 using the federal stimulus money that was given to this effort.


At the Northland Workforce Training Center in Buffalo, roughly 900 students have earned certificates or associate degrees in manufacturing and energy-related industries. About 85% of its graduates are hired and earn an average salary of $40,000, according to information provided by the center. In Milwaukee, nearly 300 young adults, women, and people of color have landed jobs due to the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, with an average salary of $48,500. Philanthropic efforts aimed at improving the manufacturing workforce demonstrate how the nonprofit sector can impact the for-profit sector and the US workforce by influencing the livability, culture, success of cities, generational poverty for historically marginalized groups, accessibility, and opportunity for all people.

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