Building Partnerships. Creating Futures.

Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council

The Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council (here after CMRC) was formed in 2005 under a shared vision for sustainable and restorative development oriented towards advanced manufacturing. Its strength comes from the breadth and engagement of its partner organizations guided by on-going advocacy initiatives to ensure that all our residents, leaders, and elected officials understand the importance of manufacturing for the future of our region and our country.

Our Mission: To build thriving sustainable communities by connecting them to manufacturing through education, training and local ownership.

Our Long-Term Goals:

  1. Chicagoland will become a global leader in advanced manufacturing;
  2. We will bring everyone to our table—manufacturers, labor, government, educators, and community and economic development leaders;
  3. We will close the Skills Gap! We will transform our education system to ensure that manufacturers have all the talent they need to compete and that all our residents have access to great careers in manufacturing; and
  4. We will help build communities, reduce poverty, and promote social inclusion in manufacturing.


Our Short-Term Objectives to be achieved in the next three years in collaboration with our partners.

  1. Expand the Manufacturing Connect program to 10 high schools and 20 elementary schools in Chicago and suburban Cook County;
  2. Triple the size of the Robotics Competition in the Southland;
  3. Work with 10 companies in ownership transition;
  4. Recruit 100 organizational members to the CMRC;
  5. Recruit 200 members to the YMA;
  6. Certify 40 manufacturing instructors through the Instructors’ Apprenticeship for Advanced Manufacturing; and
  7. Gain a public commitment from 100 local, county and state elected officials to embrace our “Go Big Plan” to close the skills and succession gap.


Our Programs:

  1. Manufacturing Connect: A nationally-recognized program that creates and expands the linkages between communities, schools and opportunity in the surrounding manufacturing sector for the benefit of both its participants and local industry;
  2. The Young Manufacturer’s Association: A network that introduces young people to the opportunities in manufacturing and supports them to start or advance their careers.  YMA is an out-of-school program serving young adults, ages 18-29, primarily from low-income communities;
  3. The Instructors’ Apprenticeship for Advanced Manufacturing: A part-time program to teach new instructors to be technically, culturally, and pedagogically competent.
  4. The Conversion Project: The Conversion Project is a venture to help retain Chicago’s industrial base by identifying and pursuing opportunities to arrange the acquisition of existing manufacturing companies considering ownership succession by groups of employees, women, African American or Hispanic entrepreneurs.


Organization and membership:

 The CMRC general membership is comprised of entities from both the private and public sector: manufacturing companies, consulting advisors, non-profits, labor, government, educators, and community and economic development leaders. In addition to the commitments outlined above, CMRC asks each of our members to make an annual $250 financial commitment to the CMRC. In return, CMRC provides a benefit package to your organization that increases your visibility within our network and the broader community.

CMRC has four committees to guide its work. Each committee is tasked with planning and taking action to achieve our short-term objectives, and ultimately our long-term goals. Along the lines of our Executive Committee that represents our unique leadership, we have a political, technical and program arm. Each committee meets twice a year, besides the Executive Committee that meets on a regular monthly basis.

CMRC Executive Committee: group of diverse stakeholders to lead CMRC’s overall mission by coordinating its efforts throughout all the programmatic areas.

Craig Freedman, CEO, Freedman Seating

Mollie Dowling, Executive Director, OAI, Inc.

Kathy Dudek, Dudek and Bock Spring Manufacturing Company

Jorge Ramirez, President, Chicago Federation of Labor

Colin Cosgrove, President, Laystrom Manufacturing Company

Michael Jasso, Bureau Chief, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development

Mitch Udany, Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development, James Hardie

Reggie Greenwood, Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation

Dan Swinney, Manufacturing Renaissance


CMRC Legislative and Policy Committee: group of elected officials only to provide political support to CMRC’s mission and vision.

CMRC Manufacturers’ Advisory Committee: group of manufacturers only to provide technical assistance for NIMS accreditation, meeting industry requirements and engaging partners.

MC Advisory Committee: group of diverse stakeholders to provide oversight for the Manufacturing Connect program’s expansion over Cook County area and sustainability at Austin College & Career Academy, Bowen High School and Prosser Career Academy.