30 Years of Grassroots Service to Manufacturing Companies

The economic impact achieved through WIRE-Net's efforts with these programs is felt far beyond the Cleveland area. Our work resonates loudly throughout regional and state economies.

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WIRE-Net founded by Cudell Improvement, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, and Stockyard Area Development Association, as the Westside Industrial Retention and Expansion Network. John Colm hired as the organization's first director. During 1987, 200 plant visits made to local manufacturing firms to assess their needs and concerns. Job placement, technical assistance, and public infrastructure investment were cited then and still are central to WIRE-Net's work.


Westside Industrial Retention & Expansion Network incorporates as a 501 (c)(3), and signs up its first five members: Actron Manufacturing, Apex Paper Box, Summers Rubber Company, Universal Grinding, and Wood Dimensions.  


During his campaign for Mayor of Cleveland, candidate Mike White pledges to expand the WIRE-Net model citywide. WIRE-Net receives its first grant funding from Cleveland and Gund Foundations for Hire Locally Program.


At Mayor White's request, John Colm submits a report outlining a city-wide industrial retention initiative. During WIRE-Net's Hire Locally program's first year, 106 Cleveland residents get manufacturing jobs.


WIRE-Net's Cornerstone Project signs up 30 firms to volunteer with Max S. Hayes High School. WIRE-Net organizes the Cleveland Industrial Summit, cosponsored with CAMP, WINOC, East Ohio Gas, CEI, and the Growth Association, creating momentum to establish the Cleveland Industrial Retention Initiative (CIRI).


WIRE-Net's efforts with the City of Cleveland keep the reconstruction of West 65th Street on track. Over 110 firms receive technical assistance.  


WIRE-Net releases "Make My Deal," an analysis of manufacturing credit needs and pushes local banks to improve their lending to small firms. CIRI is launched with WIRE-Net as a lead partner on the city's west side.


WIRE-Net assembles and remediates land for a new industrial park. Walworth Run provides 14 acres of clean buildable land, and a home for B&R Machine Company. WIRE-Net membership grows to 100 members.


Together with the Cleveland Foundation, WIRE-Net wins $1.1 million from the Pew Charitable Trusts, in partnership with the Gund Foundation and others. Expanded programs for school-to-career, training and placement, and launched the Manufacturing Assistance Program.  


With many economic partners, completes acquisition and site prep on the first four acres of the 14.5 acre Walworth Run Industrial Park to spur investment in manufacturing facilities and maximize economic opportunities for employers to create new jobs for area residents.


Hire Locally program places 269 people in manufacturing employment, generating economic impact of $3.8 million in wages, generating $76,000 in payroll taxes for Cleveland.


WIRE-Net launches the three-year Machine Trades Sectorial Initiative, aimed at revitalizing metalworking training in greater Cleveland, part of a nine city "Sectorial Employment Initiative" led by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.  


WIRE-Net receives the prestigious Economic Development Program of the Year Gold Award from the Council for Urban Economic Development (now the International Economic Development Council). WIRE-Net partners with NASA Glenn and Cuyahoga Community College to develop a machinist training program, one of the first to teach to the National Institute for Metalworking Skills standards.


WIRE-Net helps form the Northeast Ohio Metalworking Association Consortium (NEO-MAC) and negotiates agreements with educators to delineate the roles of industry and education to improve precision machining training.


WIRE-Net advocates for a smart manufacturing agenda during the Cleveland mayoral campaign.


With "first in" funding from the Generation Foundation, WIRE-Net launches its Manufacturing Innovation for the Next Decade (MIND) program, an action think tank for innovators who are accelerating the pace of innovation within their companies.  


Eleven roadway projects in key Cleveland industrial corridors recommended for reconstruction. The capital investment plan calls for $36 million in public investment over five years.


Organizes NEOCAM - the Northeast Ohio Campaign for American Manufacturing - a coalition of industry associations representing 600 Northeast Ohio member companies and 26,000 employees. Several hundred attend NEOCAM's Manufacturing Town Hall meeting in August 2004.  


Nine companies enroll in Manufacturing Innovation for the Next Decade (MIND), representing seven industry sectors, 1,800 jobs, $1 B in sales and over $66 million in annual payroll. Over 100 business and community leaders participate in WIRE-Net's first Appreciative Inquiry Summit at Great Lakes Brewing Company, setting direction for the next three years.


Strategic decision to remove geographic boundaries. WIRE-Net partners with Cuyahoga County to undertake a county-wide metals industry training partnership (MAGICC). NEOCAM activity peaks with a governor candidate forum; Dan DiMicco, Nucor Corporation, discusses global trade practices, tax and regulatory policies; and a Clean Energy forum is the catalyst for forming the Great Lakes WIND Network.  


Launches Great Lakes WIND Network, a statewide partnership with the State of Ohio and the Cleveland Foundation. WIRE-Net begins management of the CIRI program. Five-year Capital Investment Plan is completed with 10 projects funded at over $34 million in roadway improvements affecting nearly 350 manufacturing companies.


Secures New Max Hayes project funding to hire a consultant to support development of a 21st century career tech program. Over 400 Ohio manufacturers engage in the Great Lakes Wind Network's regional workshops. A partnership is formed with the American Wind Energy Association.  


Surdna Foundation joins the Cleveland Foundation in supporting year one of the New Markets Initiative, a collaboration with MAGNET. WIRE-Net finalizes Eaton Bay project to revitalize the former Standard Products plant on West 110th, stimulating $1 million in new investment, retaining 15 jobs, and creating 24 new manufacturing jobs


The Great Lakes WIND Network, now just GLWN, develops and delivers the nation's first wind farm supply chain workshop. 62 firms participate in a GE Lighting and Appliance Sourcing event with $3 million in contracts awarded. 100 business leaders participate in New Max Hayes design forum.


CIRI team plays instrumental role to bring Electric Cord Sets from Mississippi to Cleveland. Other key CIRI expansion projects include Nestlé-LJ Minor, National Safety Apparel, and Miceli Dairy Products Co. GLWN holds the first "Making It Here" wind supply chain conference in Cleveland, 244 people from 33 states attend. The WorkAdvance partnership with Towards Employment allows WIRE-Net to expand its WorkSource recruiting program.  


Clinton Global Initiative America invites WIRE-Net to Chicago to announce its commitment to expanding 21st Century Career Technical Education at Max Hayes. Since 2007, the combined economic impact of CIRI's 61 service interventions result in 55 firms retained or expanded, 1,200 direct jobs retained, and over $59 million in annual payroll preserved.


GLWN lands a Department of Energy grant to lead an effort to further America's Offshore Wind Manufacturing and Supply Chain Development. Bessemer Avenue extension is completed at a total project cost of $11.3 million, affecting 72 companies. Celebrates 25th Anniversary.


WIRE-Net and strategic partner, MAGNET, combine forces to "Accelerate Cleveland Manufacturing," a unified core city manufacturing strategy made possible through the generous support of The Cleveland Foundation. WIRE-Net becomes an Ohio certified Workers' Compensation sponsor and launches partnership with Spooner Incorporated.


Apprenticeship Consortium of eight companies identify core competencies for Industrial Maintenance position and certification application is made to the State of Ohio. As workforce challenges top the priority list, WIRE-Net solutions include incumbent worker upskilling, entry level worker training, and provision of college interns. WIRE-Net partners with ERC to offer nationally recognized training to manufacturing supervisors.  


WIRE-Net becomes the largest manufacturing-focused membership organization in Northeast Ohio—membership climbs to 355 members, adding 76 new members—that employ over 20,000 people in our region.  


WIRE-Net's Board and staff develop the 2020 Vision, which featured four strategic priorities to guide WIRE-Net's work for the next three years. First Northeast Ohio Manufacturing Apprenticeship Consortium (NOMAC) cohorts and pre-apprenticeship program at Max S. Hayes High School are launched. WorkSource placement program sees a 50% increase in placement results.


WIRE-Net celebrates 30 years as a leading force to strengthen manufacturing in Greater Cleveland, providing leading edge expertise and resources that proactively assist manufacturers in understanding and adapting to fast changing trends in technology, talent, and organizational leadership. WIRE-Net changes its name to become Manufacturing Works.