In July, the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association (OMA) officially recognized and certified the newly formed Stark County Manufacturing Partnership (SCMWDP). The SCMWDP is the 14th manufacturing industry sector partnership certified by OMA.


Barbco Inc., with its headquarters in East Canton is in Stark County and one of the SCMWDP’s founding members. Thomas Schmidt, Barbco vice president, started laying the groundwork for this organization in 2019 when he reached out the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Stark Economic Development Board, MAGNET, and OMA concerning his desire to get local manufacturers to pool their resources together to share industry best practices and to collaborate on projects of mutual interest and benefit.


The certification process requires a partnership to: 1 – be industry-led, 2 – be focused on a single industry (manufacturing), 3 – have a regional, collaborative and systems-based approach, 4 – be staffed by a neutral intermediary, 5 – be dedicated to addressing workforce development issues, 6 – be actively involved in the OMA Workforce Community, 7 – have priorities that align with the OMA Workforce Roadmap and Key Process Indicators, and 8 – have completed and submitted a supply/demand analysis and strategic plan.


Stark County Manufacturers Initiative

Shown are the four founding manufacturing members of the SCMWDP. From left, Thomas Schmidt, Barbco Inc.; Mike Hoffman, Lindsey Precast; Jim Batchelder, M.K. Morse; and Allen Green, H-P Products Inc.


The partnership was formed through collective efforts by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Stark Economic Development Board and MAGNET as the three neutral intermediaries.


There are currently 24 Stark County companies actively engaged in the partnership and a total of 550 manufacturing companies in Stark County. For more information, visit cantonchamber.org/manufacturing.


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