Since 2015, representatives from the manufacturing sector, K-12 education, and higher education have been working collaboratively to form a partnership to improve career and workforce development in Lake and Geauga Counties. Manufacturing is 40% of Lake County’s workforce, supporting over 33,000 jobs and it is estimated that 25% (or over 8,000 jobs) of the workforce will be retiring in the next 10 years. In Geauga County, 193 manufacturers are facing a similar workforce shortfall as in Lake County. The partnership has been created to address the workforce needs and serve as a catalyst to economic prosperity in Lake and Geauga Counties. The partners include: All of the public school districts in Lake and Geauga Counties, the Alliance for Working Together (AWT), the Manufacturing Advocacy Growth Network (MAGNET), the Geauga Growth Partnership (GGP), and Lakeland Community College.


NEXTWORK’s mission is to provide quality job opportunities to its students by providing exposure, training and life skills required to be successful in a manufacturing environment, while helping to sustain and expand manufacturing in Lake & Geauga Counties.


The manufacturing community and K-12 education will work collaboratively to:

  • Create an organizational structure that will centralize the process of providing these experiences/opportunities in order to coordinate all efforts seamlessly:
    • Providing experiences and opportunities for students to become familiar with careers in the manufacturing sector so that they may make thoughtful and strategic decisions about Career Technical Training, College, and Careers.
    • Providing experiences and opportunities for school staff and community members to become aware of and understand the manufacturing sector

Recently, the partnership applied for and received  $55,000.00 in funding from the Cleveland Foundation to initiate the program. Additionally, through the budget bill passed in June 2017, the State of Ohio has provided $200,000.00 in funding over the next two years to support the project. Representatives of NEXTWORK are also working with other funders in seeking additional support.

This project is aligned with the governor’s mission to grow Ohio’s economy developing a skilled workforce, promoting effective training programs, and connecting Ohio’s employers with qualified workers. To that end, NEXTWORK is seeking support from funders interested in supporting economic prosperity in Lake and Geauga Counties.  The partnership will serve over 45,000 students and the entire manufacturing sector in Lake and Geauga Counties.


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