Manufacturing Connect began its development in 2007 as a prototype project, through the founding of Austin Polytechnical Academy (now Austin College & Career Academy, ACCA), in partnership with Chicago Public Schools to provide career pathway programs and services to youth on the Westside of Chicago. Since then, MC has worked with over 90 manufacturers, various post-secondary institutions and community-based organizations to provide over 225 low-income, youth and adult participants paid work experiences, training for industry credentials, dual-credit classes, mentoring and leadership development opportunities, career and college counseling leading to full-time jobs and college enrollment. On average the program serves a total of 150 participants, ranging from 9 to 12th grades, per year.
MC currently consists of three active, interrelated programs: Manufacturing Career & College Connect (M3C), the Young Manufacturers Association (YMA), and the Instructors Apprenticeship for Advanced Manufacturing (IAAM). Each program has emerged in response to providing long-term, high-quality services to participants and our partners.
As of August 2016:
- 298 paid internships and summer jobs in manufacturing for youth earning collectively over $291,000
- 347 nationally-recognized industry credentials have been earned by MC program participants
- 55 full-time manufacturing jobs, with an average retention of 1 year, earning between $20 – $75k per year plus benefits
- MC has worked with 91 manufacturing companies to provide learning and work experiences for participants
- MC is responsible for establishing the first manufacturing technology dual-credit course in Chicago Public Schools in 2015, the first class of 16 students just graduated high school with between 3-6 college credits each in addition to earning 1-2 industry credentials.
- Building Training Infrastructure: MC raised over $150,000 in private investment to install the WaterSaver Faucet Manufacturing Technology Center, the only accredited, state-of-the-art machining training facility on the west side of Chicago.
- Expanding Workforce Development: Between 2011-2014, MC provided adult training using the Austin Polytech machining facility. Over 80 percent of adult training graduates secured jobs or earned raises or promotions in current jobs averaging a $15.83/hour wage. MC provided a training for the formerly-incarcerated at Daley College in 2013 with 100 percent of graduates were placed, 87 percent are working in full-time manufacturing jobs for more than 90-days. MR was one of the founding members of Austin Coming Together‘s Austin Workforce Collaborative, and continue to participate in supporting the expansion of Austin’s workforce development infrastructure
- Entrepreneurship Development: MC has been working towards starting a student-run manufacturing cooperative called Mech Creations. We want young people not only to aspire working in manufacturing but working towards ownership of manufacturing companies. Although currently not an active initiative, entrepreneurship development will be a key element of any future program expansion.
- Community Partnerships: MR actively partners with a variety of community based organizations around Chicago on helping to build a community-driven support for Chicago becoming an international leader in advanced manufacturing.
To learn more or get involved, contact Erica Swinney Staley, Program Director, email@example.com or (773) 278-5418