Supporting Manufacturing Across the Buckeye State

Solving common problems and creating shared tools to support manufacturing – those are the goals of The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, according to Eric Burkland, president of OMA.

Founded in 1910, OMA’s mission is to protect and grow Ohio manufacturing, primarily through advocacy, information services, and an array of programs on behalf of the association’s 1,300 member companies.

According to Burkland, Ohio boasts the third most manufacturing dense economy in the country, after California and Texas, as measured by manufacturing GDP.

Burkland said, “We are home to all the processes that make up manufacturing. We have concentrations of transportation equipment, appliances, aerospace and tooling, mold making and machining to name a few.”

He also said the Buckeye State was the leading polymer state in the country and “it is only going to get bigger due to the resources available in the Ohio shale formations.”

For OMA, the engagement with LIFT and Manufacturing USA is a fit in how it supports its members, both on the technology side as well as the education and workforce development side.

“We are supporters of the evolution of Manufacturing USA to help our members and manufacturers nationally adapt new technologies,” Burkland said. “We need to do a better job of that than we have in the past.”

He also said that education and workforce development activities need to be more attuned to technology development.

“As technology develops more rapidly, the pressure on the workforce system increases,” Burkland said “It is a problem for the developers if the base of manufacturers can’t operate or maintain the new technology, then they won’t be able to sell it. That is a big issue in Ohio and is probably true for the rest of the country.”

Regarding its involvement with LIFT, Burkland says he has seen a benefit for his members as well as the state as a whole.

“The workforce piece has been tremendous with what we have been able to do with a little investment from LIFT,” he said. “We are doing some neat things that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”

And the LIFT facility is another story all together.

“The visual thing is the high bay (at LIFT),” said Burkland. “It is beautiful and didn’t have all the equipment in yet.

“Seeing the facility and then hearing more about some of the projects and the case studies were helpful for us to say ‘Oh! That’s how it works.’”

Going forward, Burkland said he sees value to the industry through the institutes, particularly for the metalworking Midwest states.

“There is real power in the multi-state approach.”

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