Building a Manufacturing Renaissance

As I was perusing LinkedIn the other day, I came across a post that said, “Looking for manufacturers in the Chicago area who want to partner with local high schools with a manufacturing and engineering program. Contact and check out”

As this kind of effort is near and dear to me, and my home is in the Chicago area, I decided to find out more about this organization called Manufacturing Renaissance (MR) and so I visited the website. The first thing I noticed is the organization’s mission: Building a sustainable society founded on advanced manufacturing. It intrigued me, because I have always understood that a strong manufacturing base is essential to sustaining a robust, prosperous economy. So I dug further and contacted David Robinson, MR’s director of communications and organizing, and I asked him to explain their call for manufacturing partners to step forward. He said, “Yes, we are actively working to connect middle schools, high schools and adult learners, particularly in the inner city and proximate suburbs also suffering from economic blight, to our advanced manufacturing model.”

Sounds good. This is something I can help spread the word about. I explored the MR website for background about this organization. MR was founded by Dan Swinney, executive director and former machinist, in 1982. The not-for-profit serves to consult and advise on community development projects, and it specializes in workforce development initiatives for advanced manufacturing and designing the education and training programs that support them. It’s an amazing success story that MMT readers would find inspirational, because the programs put into place by MR with the support of local manufacturers, community leaders like the Chicago Public Schools and the City of Chicago, have been designed so that anyone can replicate the model.

MR announced a partnership with Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC) and Austin Coming Together to help JARC replicate its Careers in Manufacturing Programs on Chicago’s west side. A press release issued about this initiative says “JARC will provide manufacturing job training and support services for low-income adults from the Austin neighborhood and surrounding communities. Programs offered will include the Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC) and Manufacturing Bridge Programs. JARC’s program replication in Austin builds on Manufacturing Renaissance’s Manufacturing Connect training program for high school students along with its National Institute of Metalworking Skills-accredited training facility. Austin Coming Together will utilize its strong presence and engagement in the Austin Community to recruit participants, drive resources into the program, and build strong community partnerships to sustain the program.”

I wanted to share the MR story by providing a link to a January 3, 2017, article that gives a great overview of the MR and its successes in Chicago’s west side, its expansion into more urban communities, and the positive message it brings.

After reading this article, especially if you are a manufacturer in the Chicago area, perhaps you’ll be inspired to answer this group’s call for assistance with building a manufacturing renaissance.