JUNE - JULY 2020
Greetings Colleagues and Friends,
Like you, we have spent the last couple months navigating the social, emotional and economic fallout from current events spilling through our work and in our communities. On top of the pandemic, we were heartbroken by the murder of George Floyd, though soberly, not surprised as his name joins a list of countless known and unknown lives lost in hundreds of years of terrorism and lives stolen in the Black community. Manufacturing Renaissance has been working for the last 38 years to understand, develop and offer solutions to support the kind of community and economic development that builds Black and brown communities in Chicagoland.

We believe the manufacturing sector and the Black community have everything to gain by intentionally working together to expand opportunity for training, education, employment and ownership. We will continue to work hard to develop and expand the kind of partnerships, programs and policies that will increase equity and resilience across our region: among our employers to have the talent they need to grow and among our residents to have increased access good paying, high quality careers and opportunities for ownership.

We are pleased to share our most recent updates on how we are working to be part of this solution.


Erica Staley
Executive Director
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi   Discussion with the Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC) on Tax Policy and Manufacturing

We want to give special thanks to Fritz Kaegi, Cook County Tax Assessor, for being our guest of honor at the CMRC meeting on June 16th. Mr. Kaegi shared important information on policies and practices at the Assessor's Office. He answered questions on his plans for tax assessments and how it impacts manufacturers generally and during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We welcome feedback from on the event from CMRC members and attendees. Please take our short questionnaire here:  CMRC Recap Survey . You are welcome to review a recording of the meeting here: See the session here . The CMRC supports and advocates for programs and policies that strengthen our regional manufacturing sector, while increasing social inclusion and the strength of communities. For more information or learn how to become a member, click here .

The Movement for Black Lives has taken over the world, and Chicago is no exception. Throughout June, the city was among over 150 other cities across the globe that witnessed millions of protesters voice their the anger, trauma and frustration about centuries old systemic racism and inequality. The horrible video of the public lynching of George Floyd shocked the world and turned to outrage and global demands for change. Manufacturing Renaissance has spent 38 years at the leading edge of engaging the manufacturing sector as a vehicle for community and economic revitalization for those communities most negatively impacted by deindustrialization in the 1970s and 80s.

We believe that "Flashpoint Floyd" is the call to action this city and this country needed to jump-start significant and sustainable reinvestment in the communities that have suffered most from economic disenfranchisement and institutional racism. We stand in solidarity with the Black and brown communities and all of the allies who protest peacefully and are working hard to be the change we wish to see.

Unfortunately, peaceful protests were marred by individuals bent on looting and destroying property. The unchecked theft and destruction of property throughout the city, but especially prevalent on the South and West sides, were nothing short of terrifying. Most of our Manufacturing Renaissance team members live in the communities that were most impacted, MR staff, including David Robinson and Torres Hughes , were on the front lines when it came time to clean up the community after these events. Below, they tell their stories.
South Shore Clean-up Initiative – David Robinson
Monday, June 1
The Day After the Weekend of Madness
"I can't properly express the confusion, anger, frustration and anguish I'm experiencing. I'm grateful that I'm not yet afraid, but I don't think that's far off. After a night of non-stop explosions, shooting, and looting all around me, I toured my community early this morning to find rubble everywhere and smoke streaming from fires that still burn in places... (see link below for the full story) .
Wednesday, June 3
"Even though the siege of the last few days has lost intensity, violence is still prevalent around the neighborhood. The media isn't reporting it fully. We are gearing up to bring in CPD, the FOI, various Aldermen's offices and men and women of courage to protect the grocery stores and other vital establishments that remain open... (see link below for the full story) .
Thursday, June 4
"We convinced the owners of the Local Market (the last grocery store standing in south shore) to re-open today. We are gathering to secure the location for the grand re-opening at 8am. Over this week, I have been processing the situation that has unfolding before my eyes, and why it is affecting my community and the nation so powerfully. I have arrived at three conclusions:
  • Persistant, third generation poverty is at the core of the anger triggerd by the Floyd lynching...(see link below for the full story).
Monday, June 8
"I have received word from the volunteer initiative that we were able to make 174 deliveries and serve 533 individuals this past weekend. We have also received over $2,000 in donations... (read more below)

"The destruction we see around us isn't only about the horrific murder of George Floyd.
It is about the 45% of our young people in South Shore and other Black and Brown communities out of work and out of school. It is about a history of public investment inequality such that one wealthy community on the North side has received more public investment over the last 20 years than Englewood, Chatham, Austin and South Shore combined. It's about the paltry economic support for our local business owners. It is about a system that... (Click the link below to read the full story).
West Side Pop-Up Food Pantry – Torres Hughes
Torres Hughes, Young Manufacturers Association Coordinator, who grew up in Austin, volunteered on the West Side in the wake of the looting. This is a photo from last week's food giveaway hosted by our partners at Austin Coming Together (ACT). Many families showed up and were able to get vegetables, meat, and other items. Torres explained how it was encouraging to see so many people working together: "I saw other organizations that we work closely with. Families came from all over Chicago to get food. It was just a beautiful thing to be part of in such difficult times. The giveaway was in Austin, on the west side of Chicago where I grew up. I've never seen anything like it."
A Partner's Report: Ciere Boatright, VP-Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives

We were curious about the experiences of some of our colleagues and agency partners after the weekend of looting and protesting. Here's a piece by Ciere Boatright, VP of Real Estate and Inclusion at the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives group.

"As I drive around my community, I wonder how long it will take for stores to re-open, boards to come down, life in general to return to normal. On second thought, I question what is normal and was it ever really “normal”?  Decades of what feels like strategic disinvestment has left many communities without basic needs like grocery stores, pharmacies, dining options and other essential resources and that in itself is far from normal. As I reflect over the last few weeks, I’m filled with emotions. I’m angry and frustrated..."

From a Satisfied Employer
We love to hear from employers who have hired our trainees. It is especially gratifying to hear postive feedback on our young workers. It helps confirm that we are on the right track and our program is effective for employers and for our trainees, alike.

"Dee Dee - thank you for introducing me to Miguel and Harold [Graduates of MC Training]. Both are doing excellent and are great hires for our company. You and your organization did a great job. "
–  Daniel Hession "DH" Smith
General Manager at PPE Plus
Updates from the Southland

Reggie Greenwood, Executive Director of the CSEDC, attended the press conference hosted by President Sheilia Y. Chalmers-Currin and Mayor Roger Q. Agpawa where Governor JB Pritzker announced that two new massive Amazon facilities are under construction in the Chicago Southland. Joining the massive site in Monee, are a 4 million square foot facility in Matteson, a 4 million square foot facility in Markham, and a 1.2 million square foot facility in University Park.  Read the full article here: Amazon to build two new facilities in South Burbs
News From President Preckwinkle's Bureau of Economic Development

Read the latest news about the County's ongoing response to COVID-19 and many other important items. Click Here for More
ChiCook Workforce Partnership News Briefs

Click Here for More about grant opportunities and more from the ChiCook Workforce Partnership.
MR Joins a National Cohort Aiming to Advance Racial Equity in Manufacturing

A cohort of 8 leading workforce organizations in the Midwest will advance a racially inclusive future for manufacturing as the U.S. rebuilds its economy

Chicago, IL -- Manufacturing Renaissance announced today that it will join a new national project led by The Century Foundation (TCF), the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) , and seven other urban workforce development organizations concentrated in the Midwest. The groups, selected through a competitive process and funded by Lumina Foundation, will strategize solutions to the U.S. manufacturing sector’s national recruitment challenges, deepen relationships between employers and communities, and develop credential based training programs to forge a more racially inclusive future for manufacturing... Read Full Release
Chicago Tribune   Digital Newspaper , page 26: Manufacturing Renaissance was in the Chicago Tribune under their editorial column: Your proposals, and hope for our youth. Our very own Erica Staley explained how our organization is " working to expose, inspire, and prepare them for internships and full-time job placements in manufacturing." The Tribune said how Manufacturing Renaissance sees a need and wants to expand to be able to serve hundreds, or thousands, of young people. We are honored to be highlighted as one of the organizations working on community development in Chicago.

 The Indiana University Lily Family School of Philanthrop y--Perspectives on Philanthropy with David Rubenstein--CEO, The Carlyle Group

National Urban League –   Legislative Policy Conference : The Legislative Policy Conference (LPC) is the National Urban League's policy convening – bringing together members of Congress, elected state leaders, and community advocates from across the country for over 17 years. Through various tracks, leaders, organizers, and partners discuss the policy issues impacting African-Americans and other historically underrepresented communities. The event took place on June 15, but you can watch all of the conference sessions, Click Here for More

As Chicago begins to slowly move into Phase 3 of opening up the city, we still urge the community to continue taking advised precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Here are a list of resources we recommend following for the most up-to-date information: