CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Since the 1960s, dozens of manufacturing plants have shut down in Northeast Ohio. The factories that remain, like Jergens Inc. in Cleveland, are adapting with the times and seeing a comeback.
"Manufacturing, there's no question, was dropping off because we lost some support for it," said Jack Schron Jr, President of Jergens Inc. "And when they left, they went to China and places like that, but I can tell you there's still a lot of manufacturing in northeastern Ohio."
The Ohio Manufacturers Association told Cleveland 19 News that Cuyahoga County has the greatest manufacturing employment at 72,252 men and women and the county also has more manufacturing facilities than any other with over 1,798 factories.
But there's a big difference between yesterday's manufacturing industry and now.
"Today's manufacturing is not a thing like my dad and grandfathers manufacturing. We don't even call it a factory," said Schron.
The jobs are coming back, but talent is hard to find.
"There's this big void of those with any kind of knowledge, skills, and abilities related to manufacturing," said Jason Bateman, project engineer with Jergens Inc.
Schron is urging people to take a look at the opportunities in the manufacturing and industrial field right here in Cleveland.
China Coleman is a Jergens Inc. employee who started part-time right out of high school and without a high-education degree.
Coleman said she realized this could turn into a career and went back to technical school to learn how to machine. Now, Coleman is leading her department, the same one she first started in.
"Manufacturing, you don't have to have any experience. It's a learned thing. If you have the interest for it you can definitely thrive," says Coleman.