Greetings Colleagues and Friends,

A s the entire world grapples with the myriad of challenges in response to the pandemic, Manufacturing Renaissance hopes each of you in our community are remaining safe, healthy and in excellent spirits. Our thoughts are with you.

We are grateful to bring you this special edition. We hope the extraordinarily honest and often, hopeful, expressions presented herein by our colleagues reminds you that you are not alone and that we are resilient, resourceful, and that together, we will work our way through this crisis. We applaud you all for all you do.


David Robinson
Managing Editor

W e wanted to know how our manufacturing industry friends and staff were coping with the COVID-19 crisis at work and personally. We asked three questions:

  1. How has the virus affected operations at your place of business?
  2. Is your place of business or organization doing anything different or interesting in response to the virus?  
  3. How are you personally coping with the changes brought on by the response to the virus?  
Here's what they said:
Craig Freedman, CEO, Freedman Seating
"The virus has permeated every aspect of our lives.  As an essential manufacturer we have been doing our best to keep our lines open, but it has been challenging. Our main goal is to keep our workforce safe. Those who do not feel comfortable coming in or, of course, are sick, do not need to come in. We have had roughly 65% attendance. We take long weekends to sanitize the facility to provide comfort and security to our valued associates. I am amazed at the resiliency and determination of not only our team but those of nonprofits like MR, and Westside Forward and JARC who are pushing ahead to serve those most in need during this crisis. Read more here .
Erica Staley, Executive Director,
Manufacturing Renaissance
"MR has been around for 37 years. In that time, we’ve had 3 different names, a multitude of programs, partnerships and initiatives under a multitude of Mayors, changes in leadership across every level of government, foundation, coalition and community. We’ve seen great hopes and big problems come and go. In other words, MR knows how to adapt. What hasn’t changed in 37 years is our belief that manufacturing represents a strategic vehicle for community development and reducing poverty. Regardless of the latest crisis or who is in charge, our society needs to make things, people need good jobs and thriving communities. MR has been laser focused on that fact since our inception..." Read more here .
Torres Hughes, Young Manufacturers
Association Coordinator
"...We have now created virtual classrooms and curriculum to continue to stay connected to the people we serve. We are still providing services and support and engaging with our network of young people. We are still engaging with stake holders and building connections so that our young people can have jobs and access to meaningful opportunities..." Read more here .
Dee Dee Jones,
Industrial Coordinator
"Most manufacturing partners aren't hiring at this time. They do not want to make commitments to people they can't keep. They're waiting to see what happens. Orders are low due to businesses being closed in most metal fabrication environments. Food, plastic, consumer products, corrugated and packaging are steady as far as production but they're only hiring skilled positions or hard to find skill sets. All other positions will be filled by temps…" Read more here .
James Nnabuihe
Manufacturing Connect Participant

"As the only one of my siblings who hasn't moved on to college, I've just had a great time being together with my entire family like the good ole times. Even though the outside world is dangerous and online school has been a pain, being holed up with people that love each other is always worth appreciating."

Jada Miles
Manufacturing Connect Participant
(2nd from left)
  "I think my biggest challenge is being distracted and tired because I feel like I'm not really learning anything by having my classes online. I think I'll be better if I was actually in a classroom."

Dasia Richards
Manufacturing Connect Participant
"Online learning has been really hard and it's stressing me out. I need hands-on learning to help me understand some of the work."


W ith new information about the pandemic coming out nearly every hour, it is difficult to stay up to date on the latest and most reliable information. Here are some resources we recommend:

P lease fill out this short google form to help us gather insight on how other businesses are responding to the changing world as an effect of COVID-19. This short questionnaire will help us understand how our community is handling the current pandemic, and how else we can step up.
A s COVID-19 sweeps through the nation, many companies are requiring employees to work from home in an effort to comply with social distancing. There are many complications that can arise from the shift in working environments, but more urgently this transition can lead to an increase in cyber security issues. Some may take advantage of these basic changes in company infrastructure to target innocent people. To keep you and your company protected, our partners at MxD have been hosting webinars on various subjects, including cyber security, that may be of interest to you.

I n these days we are experiencing I want to remind you regardless of who you are or where you are, we are in this thing together. Along with social distancing and paying attention to the recommended guidelines for your personal safety, I want to suggest this is a good time for reflection. Think about how you can be a better person, show more compassion for others, and reflect on recognizing there is a power greater than mankind. 

-Rev. Anthony Haynes, Chairman, Ministers for Manufacturing Committee of the Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council
M anufacturers everywhere are responding to help en-masse to create personal protective equipment as hospitals and first responders around the United States struggle with shortages. Thank you to local partners like Laystrom Manufacturing, Freedman Seating and all the manufacturers who are putting in extra work to keep medical staff and first responders safe during this time!
Although every industry will be negatively impacted as an effect of this pandemic, there is hope that the manufacturing industry will bounce back faster than others. With changes happening so fast, it is a bit too early to tell. Here are a few articles we thought give a good snap-shot on how the pandemic is effecting industry.

(Aviation Pros) 
(The Chicago Tribune) 
I n such an uncertain time, the positive and helpful nature of human spirit is still shining through. Many people in Chicago’s communities, and all around the world, are stepping up to take care of each other and spread smiles. There are acts of compassion to be found even among this pandemic. If you need some positive news amid all the chaos, look no further.
(CBS Local) 
(NBC Chicago) 

(Chicago Defender)

Nothing heals a community quite like humor, and Chicagoans are no exception. Memes of Lori Lightfoot photoshopped across various lockdown sites have helped some get a laugh in this stressful time. Even Lightfoot thinks the memes are awesome !
Even in the midst of darkness, there is light. We know that COVID-19 won’t last forever, and there are things we can do to stop the spread. Please continue to social distance, wash your hands, and keep your spirits up! We will get through this, together.