The CMRC is a coalition-building initiative of Manufacturing Renaissance started in 2005. At CMRC’s bimonthly Leadership Committee meeting 10/24/22, Erica Staley presented the third quarter performance report for CMRC activity in 2022. The full report can be accessed here. Thanks to Leadership Committee member input into this evolving process, at the beginning of 2022, we came to a consensus on the following language describing our coalition and our goals for 2022:
CMRC Mission: The CMRC is a regional coalition with the mission to promote manufacturing as a tool for social inclusion and community development.
CMRC Goals for 2022:
- Advocate for manufacturing as a tool for community development among key coalition stakeholders.
- Support and advocate for expansion of workforce development and related education programs.
- Expand the CMRC membership.
- Increase influence as a network.
- Increase dedicated funding for CMRC.
Upon affirmation of the CMRC goals for the year, we identified Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART) goals to create metrics to track over the course of the year to help the Leadership Committee understand and support progress towards achieving our goals.
Key observations include:
- CMRC “2.0” is emerging and it is distinct from other manufacturing sector partnerships. Participating entities are playing non-traditional roles as it relates to advocating on behalf of the manufacturing sector, most notably active members including faith-based leaders and the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation. CMRC played an active role in west and south side communities engaging community leaders, organizations and other entities who otherwise were minimally aware of the importance of manufacturing especially as a tool for inclusive community and economic development.
- We are underreporting. There is work to be done to get more member activity reflected in this data set.
- Collecting and analyzing the data based on the SMART Goals identified at the beginning of the year helped to further clarify the identity and purpose of the coalition itself. The data set helps to illustrate is an active effort to expand the manufacturing ecosystem footprint in the Chicagoland area.
- If the CMRC could operate in more explicit coordination with the City of Chicago, Cook County and other sector partnerships, these efforts in their aggregate could serve to extend and amplify the benefit of the collective of sector partnerships’ reach into communities. This would produce direct benefit to not only employers, who are often considered the driving force behind sector partnerships – but to communities. If community leaders more clearly viewed their interests in alignment with their local manufacturers, especially those who shared their values, they too could further drive public sentiment and public sector support towards expanding the manufacturing ecosystem resources benefiting all key stakeholders.
- While finding talent and filling jobs is the most expressed and obvious need for manufacturers, there are other benefits of a viable and thriving manufacturing sector on both employers and surrounding communities, our society.
- Building an inclusive and active “manufacturing ecosystem” requires shared leadership among different stakeholder groups, active and strategic cultivation of a broader network, commitment to find a variety of ways to outreach, engage and create the space for diverse groups of people to learn about manufacturing and participate in related activities that may or may not involve immediate enrollment into a training program or application for employment.
Recommendations for Next Steps:
- Between now and the 12/12/22 meeting, encourage CMRC leaders and the broader membership to report related activities in the CMRC tool to further expand the data set that can better inform developing priorities and work plan goals for 2023.
- MR needs to update the work plan to improve more consistent member tracking and engagement.
- Revisit and update the CMRC description materials to reflect outputs for the year and better clarify CMRC’s “value-add” to the manufacturing ecosystem in the Chicagoland area.
- Revisit the CMRC committee structure, based on staffing support resources available. Consider how we can further engage and activate strategic manufacturing stakeholders within the CMRC network, for example, possible strategies for engaging stakeholders:
- Build active Educator committee with a calendar of activities intended to engage and inform educators within and beyond the current Career and Technical Education footprint.
- Reorganize CMRC industry advisory and engagement committee based on changes to CMRC-supported workforce programs in recent years (what started as Austin Polytech, now Manufacturing Connect and Young Manufacturers Association) ensuring these public/private invested programs continue to be a resource for local employers and communities.
- Continue to develop the Ministers for Manufacturers committee for deepening and expanding community engagement.