Medical Manufacturer Wants Specialized Training in Ohio Schools

Gov. John Kasich speaks with employees of the QED Research Center at the facility's opening Wednesday. (Credit: Ashton Marra/ideastream)
Gov. John Kasich speaks with employees of the QED Research Center at the facility's opening Wednesday. (Credit: Ashton Marra/ideastream)
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Cleveland is a health care town. Three of its largest employers are hospital systems, and those systems are supplied with trained healthcare workers who are often educated in Northeast Ohio colleges and universities.

But when it comes to filling slots in medical manufacturing, the representative of one local company says the lack of training in those schools could be hindering the region’s growth.

QED Research Center celebrated the opening of its newest manufacturing facility in Mayfield Village Wendesday, alongside Gov. John Kasich who helped in the ceremonial ribbon cutting. 

During his remarks, Kasich told the facility's workers that if someone asks them what they do, respond, "I'm saving lives," he said.

The center employs 160 workers whose education backgrounds range from high school diplomas to PhDs.

At the new facility, QED workers will research, build and test specialized radio frequency coils that are used in MRIs. Before, Research Center President John Patrick said the company relied on its partners, like Toshiba or Phillips, to test the products for them. Now, Patrick said, innovation can happen at a much more rapid pace. 

But the center's expansion in some areas has been slower than what Patrick said it could have been, and that is because of the workforce.

“We have had opportunities where we could have grown faster had we been able to acquire the talent more readily,” he said. 

Patrick said medical device manufacturing is a highly regulated industry and Northeast Ohio schools, so far, aren’t providing a workforce trained to immediately enter the field.

“[The colleges and universities] teach basic science, basic engineering traits, but that is only one small part of what you actually need to manufacture in this environment,” he said.

While QED celebrated an expansion Wednesday, Patrick said without a shift in educational training, those expansions will come more slowly in the future.

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