Yesterday, the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) joined with other area business groups to hold a Manufacturers Summit at the College of DuPage outside of Chicago. By all accounts it was a terrific success in focusing on the workforce needs of the greater Chicago manufacturing community and developing a plan to ensure a pipeline of skilled men and women in the future.
Ron Bullock, chairman of Bison Gear & Engineering in St. Charles, Illinois, is the newly-elected chairman of IMA and he gave the keynote address to the audience. He struck a note that is important to the future of U.S. manufacturing. Namely, that the success of manufacturing depends on its alliances and partnerships with community colleges and technical colleges that attract and train the next wave of skilled workers for manufacturing.
The College of DuPage is at the center of this competitiveness drive. It offers 140 hours of classroom training for young men and women, leading to certification in 4 distinct career areas by the MSSC–the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council. Students who master the coursework and obtain the coveted MSSC certification will participate in a job fair afterwards, so the connection between training and obtaining a good job is real and tangible.
The Summit also announced the formation of a Manufacturing Council in Illinois that will create business champions–executives who will speak publicly about the needs of skilled manufacturing workers and the linkage with the nation’s community colleges. The Council will also find ways to deepen the connection between manufacturers in northern Illinois and other community colleges. The College of DuPage has set the pace and tone for what needs to be done. Now we hope others will see how important this direction is the future standard of living and economy of Illinois.
Next week we will bring you more about this important convocation. In the meantime, kudos to IMA, the College of DuPage and Mr. Bullock for launching it.
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