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Connecting high school students to manufacturing careers on “Manufacturing Day”


That’s by offering manufacturing technology training at the high school level.

This was the focus of the Calumet Green Manufacturing Partnership’s (CGMP) Manufacturing Day October 1st at Bloom High School in Chicago Heights. About 60 students from Bloom, Bloom Trail and Rich East high schools met with local manufacturing companies to learn about future career pathways in manufacturing technology. The event highlighted Calumet regional efforts to connect companies and students with training partner Prairie State College and with community based organizations and trade associations helping to promote careers in the manufacturing sector.

The event was a part of the national Manufacturing Day efforts (, which aim to address common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t.

Manufacturing representatives from F.H. Ayer, Do-Rite Die & Engineering, Bimba Manufacturing and Chicago Magnesium addressed the skilled labor shortage they face. They also sought to connect with potential future generations of employees, take charge of the public image of manufacturing and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. After hearing from the businesses, students went out on tours to F.H.Ayer, Do-Rite and Bimba’s facilities, as well as to Prairie State College’s manufacturing technology machine shop.

Prairie State College is one of three education partners of the CGMP. Others include Richard J. Daley and South Suburban Colleges. Additional partners include South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) and  FB International LLC for employer engagement; OAI, Inc. for recruitment, screening and job placement services; the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and the Chicago Jobs Council.

“All careers in manufacturing require you to have a strong mechanical ability, computation skills and specialized communication skills,” said Bloom Township High School District 206 Supt. Lenell Navarre. “Within each of these pathways exist numerous careers, many of which currently have high employability rates and will also provide strong preparation for future jobs not yet even in existence.”

Bloom Principal Michael Campbell said that now that manufacturing technology curricula is in place at these three schools, he looks forward to reaching out to other principals across the Southland to develop a comprehensive plan to implement manufacturing technology training at all high schools.

“We’re hoping that the new curriculum will catch on to other high schools throughout the region”, added SSMMA Director of Economic Development Reggie Greenwood. “Preparing some students for the workforce makes their high school experience much more meaningful. Most high schools prepare students for college, but not all kids can go to college, or even want to go. This gives them a viable alternative.”

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