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.
The CMRC operates under four principles:
1. The Chicagoland region should be the global leader in advanced manufacturing;
2. Our strategic partnership of manufacturers, labor, community, government, and educators is our competitive advantage;
3. We need profound changes in our public education system if we are to remain competitive in the global manufacturing economy, and;
4. This work can be a springboard for community development and the reduction of poverty.
Update – June 2016
The Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council: A True Public/Private Partnership
By Dan Swinney, Executive Director of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council
There are lots of organizations and associations in the manufacturing community. We have company trade associations, the Industrial Union Council of the AFL-CIO and industrial unions, engineering associations, and constituency and professional organizations of all sorts. They typically represent either private interests or professional interests. Rarely does the public sector have organizations focused on manufacturing. By design, the CMRC represents a true partnership between the private and public sector with interests that directly overlap in some situations and accepting the fact that some interests or priorities aren’t shared. The CMRC has been successful because it has limited (but big) objectives and doesn’t have the necessity of reconciling or engaging all of the interests of our partners. But in the process, we bring enormous strength to the manufacturing sector because of this utilization of the political, financial and other resources of this partnership.
In solving the challenge of the skills gap, both the private and public sector organizations and companies are on the same page. Their interests overlap. We bring the labor movement and manufacturers who are unionized as well as non-union together to work on our four objectives such as the Manufacturing Connect program in Austin—but we have no pretense that we are to play a role in getting involved in labor management or representation disputes. Those are off our table. Same with the environment. Our member organizations guided by public interests typically want more informed regulation while some manufacturing associations want dramatic reductions in regulation.
Generally, we see that the private sector agenda on manufacturing is driven by individuals and investors as a means to accumulate personal wealth. Generally, the public agenda sees manufacturing as the essential means to solve social problems such as ending poverty, building the middle class, and solving the environmental crisis by creating new processes and products that lead to the restoration of the environment. With issues like the skills gap, the overlap in interests is quickly visible as are the means for both private and public interests to work together. On other issues like the environment, the overlap isn’t very clear and there are opposing views. The CMRC is a table where those tensions can be safely discussed, the areas of common ground identified, and the areas of sharp difference put to the side—as we continue to work together for those four principles we all agree to.
This kind of pragmatism and focus is why we are still growing after 10 years. This kind of pragmatism has allowed a group of unlikely partners to make advances—in education, for example—that we could not have done without working together and that provides substantial benefit to both the public and private sector.
- Dan Swinney, Executive Director
- Mollie Dowling, OAI, Inc.
- Kathy Dudek, Dudek & Bock Spring Manufacturing Co.
- Craig Freedman, Freedman Seating
- Reggie Greenwood, South Suburban Managers and Mayors Association
- Mike Jasso, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
- Jorge Ramirez, Chicago Federation of Labor
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 email@example.com or (773) 278-5418.
Special thanks to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for supporting CMRC’s work.