By GRACE WYLER
The manufacturing industries in Northeast Ohio are well-positioned to adapt to the growing advanced energy and “green” technology industries, according to a new report from a regional development group.
Team Northeast Ohio, a Cleveland-based nonprofit that promotes business development and attraction, released its quarterly economic report today. The report focuses on the future of “clean-tech” industries in the 16 counties that make up Northeast Ohio.
Clean-tech refers to a variety of “green” products and services, including those that use advanced energy technology, improve energy efficiency and reduce cost, waste and pollution, said Jacob Duritsky, research manager for Team NEO,
Clean-tech industries use many of the same products and components made by traditional manufacturing sectors in Northeast Ohio such as automotive and aerospace, Duritsky said.
Major Northeast Ohio manufacturing sectors that make up the clean-tech supply chain include fabricated metals, plastics, machinery, iron and steel mills and structural metals.
These industries contribute $12.5 billion to the regional economy and make up 35 percent of manufacturing in the area. The industries are expected to grow more than 20 percent by 2015, according to Team NEO’s report.
“We have this deep supply chain for clean “green” tech products already in place,” Duritsky said. “We have an above average share of the industries needed to make these products here.”
According to the report, regional production of many key clean-tech components exceeds the national average. For example, Northeast Ohio produces six times more fabricated metal than the national average.
“We are positioned to have a relatively large portion of the market share,” Duritsky said.
The report points out that U.S. Department of Labor has identified occupations expected to see increased demand from the growing clean-tech sector, including computer-controlled machine tool operators, machine setters, materials scientists and industrial production managers.
Northeast Ohio has a stronger than average presence of skilled workers in many of these occupations, the report says.
The skills for these occupations will remain the same but will be increasingly used for clean-tech industries, said Thomas Waltermire, Team NEO’s chief executive.
“Our occupational strengths are a really important part of the region,” Waltermire said. “For an external audience standpoint, it shows that there are opportunities here.”
Growing opportunities in clean-tech industries will compel some manufacturing companies to shift or expand into the clean-tech sector, Waltermire said.
“A lot of local companies are changing,” Waltermire said. “These industries that have been traditional are finding new markets.”