Looking Ahead: Michael P. Moriarty, Co-Chair, Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council

As a longtime educator, Michael P. Moriarty has not only focused on students and their teachers – he has worked to teach and promote ways that what students learn is relevant to the workforce and world of manufacturing. Moriarty is a high school mathematics educator who taught for seven years in the Chicago Public Schools at Bowen and Morgan Park high schools. Since 2013, he has served Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members at the CTU Foundation Quest Center for Professional Learning, where he supports a range of initiatives for educator professional development and career pathways school programming.

Now, he is also serving as co-chair of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC) of Manufacturing Renaissance.  CMRC is a diverse regional coalition that promotes manufacturing as a tool for social inclusion and equitable development.

Moriarty became co-chair of CMRC in December. He co-chairs CMRC with Jim Piper, President of Matot, a Bellwood, IL company that designs, builds, and installs custom dumbwaiters and lifts.

“I really appreciate Mike and Jim’s enthusiasm to be proactive leaders in this work and help us think through how we can find new ways to engage our community at large and members,” says Erica Staley, executive director of Manufacturing Renaissance. “Their commitment to our work will be important as we strive to expand opportunities in manufacturing. “

Moriarty points to an early experience he had as a teacher that connects to his role with CMRC. “When I was working with high school students in math classes, I saw that their engagement often seemed distant from being able to apply what they learned,” he says. That connection between learning and doing, he says, is essential – especially when students are exploring opportunities in the field of manufacturing.

Moriarty is a national board certified teacher (NBCT), which is the highest teaching credential for an educator. He emphasizes the unique impact teachers can have on young people and how they learn about opportunities in manufacturing. “We definitely need to get the idea about the manufacturing ecosystem out to all,” he says. “Teaching is one medium where we can make an impact. Teachers are big advocates for kids – and we need to be big advocates for teachers.”

Chicago Teachers Union Foundation

At the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation, his work has focused on managing a range of projects as well as curriculum lesson development. His current work is also focused on climate education and justice through an innovative program that is engaging students at schools in Chicago. Another program with IBEW134 has created curriculum on solar energy and two Chicago high schools. His work at CTUF has also involved a variety of fundraising and communications activities, including managing the foundation’s communications.

At CTUF, his work also includes supporting the development of trauma-informed and restorative justice pedagogy in schools, which are areas of growing emphasis.

One key project over the years has been the development of the Instructors Apprenticeship for Advanced Manufacturing, which trains instructors to enhance their technical, cultural, and pedagogical competencies. “These areas are so important,” Moriarty says. “Teachers need to know how to do the work, relate to students, and write an engaging lesson.” The apprenticeship program will continue to fulfill needs in the city when Chicago Public Schools opens new programs that train students for the manufacturing sector.

Moriarty is also president of Illinois New and Related Services, an incubator of new CTE affiliates for the Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education.

Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council

Moriarty points to numerous opportunities for CMRC as it looks to 2023 and keeps building a strong and diverse group of stakeholders who advocate for an equitable manufacturing sector. He also restates an important goal: Creating an even playing field for young people in underserved communities. “We will continue to focus on ensuring that Black and brown students have a clear path to the middle class,” he says.

While Manufacturing Renaissance trains young people for jobs in manufacturing, he also emphasizes the importance of the organization continuing its work with companies who employ these young people so they can flourish in the workplace.

As an advocate for a green economy, Moriarty also sees opportunities for CMRC in the coming years. “Manufacturing companies that we are supporting do understand their impact on the environment,” he says. “When we talk about ‘green,’ we also need to focus on bringing manufacturing back to the states. If you want to make manufacturing green, bring it closer to our communities to reduce on transportation.”

As CMRC looks to 2023, Moriarty shares a vision that can help frame the Council’s next steps. “We look to a future in manufacturing that values education and advanced manufacturing – and is sustainable,” he says. “Manufacturing Renaissance is trying to make a difference – they walk the walk, do the programming, and know the students. They are invested in working with students to get jobs and keep jobs. That is something I’m proud to be associated with.”

-Dan Baron