Policy and Advocacy

ideas for change

We engage diverse stakeholders around ideas, policies and programs that expand equitable development through manufacturing


Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC)

Formed in 2005, the CMRC is a regional coalition that promotes manufacturing as a tool for social inclusion and community development.

Recording of Recent Event:  Congressional and Manufacturing Leadership Panel Discussion June 21, 2021. Click here for recording.
Panel featuring Congressional and manufacturing leaders to discuss current federal policy opportunities supporting manufacturing in the Chicagoland area.

The CMRC is guided by 4 principles: 

  1. Advanced manufacturing can expand the middle class, increase inclusion and equity in disenfranchised communities.
  2. Employers, workers and communities need strong education and workforce development systems.
  3. We need to prioritize manufacturing in strategies for sustainable development.​
  4. We need a broad, racially and socially diverse coalition of people, leaders, organizations and businesses who believe manufacturing builds communities. Our coalition must include the following stakeholders:
  • Manufacturers and their associations​
  • Organized labor and their associations​
  • Educators and educational institutions​
  • Social service providers​
  • Community and faith leaders​
  • Youth and youth advocates​
  • Business owners and leaders​
  • Government officials ​

The CMRC Leadership Committee: 

Colin Cosgrove, President, Laystrom Manufacturing – Co-chair

Mollie Dowling, Executive Director, OAI, Inc. – Co-chair

Craig Freedman, CEO, Freedman Seating

Reggie Greenwood, Executive Director of the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation and the Supply Chain Innovation Center and Business Incubator

Rev. Anthony Haynes, Ministers for Manufacturing Chairman

Dr. Alice Palmer, Former Illinois State Senator, 13th District and Associate Dean and Director of Northwestern University’s African-American Student Affairs

Jim Piper, President, Matot, Inc.

Irene Sherr, Deputy Bureau Chief, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development

Don Villar, Secretary-Treasurer, Chicago Federation of Labor

Want to learn more or join?

Check out our CMRC Plan and Description

Contact Erica Staley, Executive Director, 773-278-5418 x20, estaley@mfgren.org

or fill out our membership form:

Our Goals:

  1. Advocate for manufacturing-as-tool-for-community-development among key coalition stakeholders (see Principle #4).​
  2. Support and advocate for expansion of workforce development and related education programs. ​
  3. Expand the CMRC membership.​
  4. Increase influence as a network.​
  5. Increase dedicated funding for CMRC.​

Recent Accomplishments:

  1. Organized Inclusion & Industry 4.0 Conference in April 2019 attended by over 150 guests, featuring the Deputy Minister of Vocational Education for the Basque Country and Tknika, on the Basque’s approach towards workforce development and education. 

  2. Organized 2 successful General Membership Meetings in 2019: one highlighting Daley College MTEC  and most recent in-person meeting featuring Congressmen Krishnamoorthi and Davis, Cook County President Preckwinkle on policies supporting manufacturing career pathway programming.

  3. Organized CMRC webinar with Cook Country Tax Assessor,  Fritz Kaegi.


Leaders promoting manufacturing to expand social inclusion and community development:

Join US,
Become a Member

Become a Member

1. Submit a membership agreement form. Indicate on the form whether you will pay membership fee via Donate button on MR website or if you prefer paying by invoice. 

2. Sliding Scale Annual Membership Fee: Pay what you or your institution can afford. While we need your support, we value your participation. We have instituted a “Sliding Scale” annual fee to reduce the barriers for any one to join. If you are representing a non-profit or corporate entity, please consider giving an annual fee between $250 – $1000. If you are an individual or faith-based entity, please consider an annual fee between $5 – $250. You will be sent a renewal invoice annually on the anniversary date of your application submission. If you need to request a fee waiver for the year you may request one through the membership form.

3. Participate in at least one CMRC-hosted event.

4. Be an ambassador and advocate of CMRC’s mission.

Membership Benefits

  1. Be part of a coalition with a diverse membership across the public/private spectrum and unique mission focused on expanding manufacturing, inclusion and equity.​
  2. Have access to cutting-edge workforce development and industry programs and policy-influencers.
  3. Network with other leaders in manufacturing, workforce development, education and community development.​
  4. Identify potential partnerships and investment connections.​
  5. Increase your visibility, amplify your voice as a CMRC member.