Building Partnerships. Creating Futures.

Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council

Chicagoland MRC

The Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC) is a manufacturing association that represents a fusion of the private and public interests in advanced manufacturing. At this table, we have manufacturing companies, the labor organizations, educators, community-based organizations and local and regional government. We have projects that embody advanced manufacturing integrated with social inclusion.

The partnership formed in 2005 when Manufacturing Renaissance joined forces with 10 unlikely allies including the City of Chicago, Tooling & Manufacturing Association, and Chicago Federation of Labor. Manufacturing Renaissance serves as the Chicagoland MRC’s managing partner.

This unique and unlikely partnership stands as CMRC’s competitive advantage. The CMRC operates under three simple principles::

1. The Chicagoland region should be the global leader in advanced manufacturing;
2. We need profound changes in our public education system if the Chicagoland region is to remain competitive, and;
3. Our solutions contribute to community development and the reduction of poverty.

Update – March 2017

By Dan Swinney, Executive Director of the Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council

A lot is happening as usual.

1. Executive Committee Meeting: Our next meeting is a face-to-face meeting on Wednesday, March 22 from 2 to 4 at Laystrom Manufacturing. We will revisit the “Go Big” proposal, summarize and evaluate the meeting of the Manufacturing Advisory Council, discuss next steps for Prosser and Bowen, etc.

2. Expanding the Executive Committee: I’ve met with a couple of exceptional leaders from our partner companies and have recruited them to join our Executive Committee. They are both very supportive of our mission and will bring additional talent and drive to our already robust group of leaders. They are:

  • Colin Cosgrove, the President of Laystrom Manufacturing.  He has worked in a number of companies in the region, and is part of other networks—giving him a broad perspective of our sector. He’s already suggesting ways in which we can get our message out and others we could be getting involved.
  • Mitch Udany, Senior Director of Human Resources at Ferrara Candy Company. Mitch also has a lot of experience in various companies and is enthusiastic about the focus of the CMRC.

3. The Go Big effort: We continue to refine our presentation of what this effort represents. We have articulated what a system that dramatically closes the “skills gap” and begins to address the “succession gap” looks like. This won’t be the effort of one organization like Manufacturing Renaissance, but a series of partnerships with a variety of organizations and companies that are promoted and supported by the CMRC. These organizations secure funding, provide staff and leadership, and coordinate with others in the network. The CMRC has been the leading advocate for this approach. We are developing a new organizational chart that tries to capture this reality.

4. Program Updates:

  • Manufacturing Connect:
  • Young Manufacturers Association: steady progress in this joint effort by OAI, MR, and Austin Coming Together. We now have 45 members of the YMA and have reached out to 200+ young people and introduced them to the opportunities available to them in manufacturing.
  • Instructor’s Apprenticeship for Advanced Manufacturing: This is going great. The Chicago Teachers Union Foundation is funding this effort and recently secured $100,000 for the program. We have 45+ who’ve inquired about the program. Our team is interviewing 16 of these for participation. The program will formally launch in mid-April.
  • Austin College and Career Academy: Continued progress. Successful job shadowing day with 17 juniors and seniors shadowing employees at 9 companies.
  • The mentoring program now has 32 students with mentors. WaterSaver Faucet is mentoring 5 of our students.
  • Bowen High School: We are under contract and training the instructor as a first step in developing a program. We have proposed changes in the machine shop and expect students to have secured NIMS credentials by the end of the school year.
  • Prosser Career Academy: Supposedly, the Mayor has agreed to support funding for Prosser that includes funding to start the program.

5. Conversion Project: We have formalized the partnership with Safer Foundation, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Chicago Federation of Labor. We are now seeking funding for the exploratory phase so we can get to work.

6. Outreach: We have been reaching out to a variety of leaders to update them on the CMRC and our projects and when possible to secure their support and assistance. This includes World Business Chicago, the Great Cities program at UIC, Cong. Davis and Cong. Kelly, Toni Preckwinkle; and others. We have also attracted attention from the London School of Economics and the University of Melbourne.

7. Manufacturer’s Advisory Council: We are convening a meeting of the Council tomorrow. We’ll report on our success.



  • Colin Cosgrove, Laystrom Manufacturing
  • Mollie Dowling, OAI, Inc.
  • Kathy Dudek, Dudek & Bock Spring Manufacturing Co.
  • Reggie Greenwood, South Suburban Managers and Mayors Association
  • Mike Jasso, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
  • Jorge Ramirez, Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Mitch Udany, Ferrara Candy Co.

Today the Chicagoland MRC is a leading voice on regional development and education policy. Its partners operate internationally recognized programs, including a network of community-building initiatives focused around the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side.

To learn more or get involved, contact Dan Swinney at or (773) 278-5418.

Special thanks to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for supporting CMRC’s work.