Dear Colleagues, CMRC Members, Supporters and Friends,

Its been a tough few months but Spring has arrived and exciting progress is being made across our projects adding a little more pep-in-my-step! We are here to advance inclusive sustainable development anchored in manufacturing. Through our walk and through our talk, we are showing how Inclusion x Manufacturing = Thriving Communities and Economies.

Thank you to the many partners, participants, funders, employees, board members, volunteers, CMRC members and supporters who join us in this passion to pursue our mission. If you are not yet involved, join us in this work! I'm excited to share the following updates below with more details on our website blog.

Career Pathway Services:
  1. Help MR Celebrate Graduating High School Seniors for Decision Day
  2. Virtual Job Shadow Day: Welcome to the World of Manufacturing!
  3. Manufacturing Connect Participants Share Their Second Impressions
  4. Profile of Dee Dee Jones, Industry Coordinator Extraordinaire!
  5. Young Manufacturers Association Spring Training Cohort Underway
  6. MR Named an Inaugural Stanley Black & Decker Makers Grant Award Recipient!
Building an Inclusive Manufacturing Ecosystem:
  1. A New Definition for "Manufacturing Ecosystem"
  2. Resolution Introduced in Chicago's City Council to Endorse the Manufacturing Reinvestment Corporation Act
  3. Thurgood Marshall College Fund: Focus on Career Pathways
  4. Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC) Network Updates
  5. Recent Articles and Reports on Inclusive Manufacturing and Development

Erica Swinney Staley
Executive Director
773-278-5418 x20
Help MR Celebrate Graduating High School Seniors Completing Manufacturing Connect for "Decision Day"
"Decision Day" has typically been about students announcing their college plans. This year we have 21 graduating seniors who have created their own path by completing our 12-week, Manufacturing Connect program, preparing them for employment in manufacturing. Whether they choose to go to college, trade school or employment after high school, they deserve to be celebrated for overcoming so many odds, especially during a pandemic, to complete this milestone.

On May 18th, we will meet in-person at Daley College where MC participants will be presented with their industry credentials from the National Institute of Metalworking Skills and they will announce their plans for after high school! We are looking to throw a proper celebration to acknowledge their accomplishments and send them off with a good meal and a gift card to help fill their "trunks" and get the items they need to transition into their next chapter of young adulthood. Please chip in today to help us celebrate! Read more here.
Virtual Job Shadow Day: Welcome to the World of Manufacturing!
On March 16th, Manufacturing Connect participants, seniors from 15 different high schools across Chicago, had a chance to learn about manufacturing from professionals who shared their experience from the field. Presentations, virtual tours and Q&A sessions were hosted by two Chicago-based companies, FosterWorks  and Freedman Seating Company (both companies employ MC program graduates). “We can walk past these businesses and never know what goes on inside,” said Dee Dee Jones, Industry Coordinator, during this event. “On Job Shadow Day we learn about different career paths, areas where you can be employed and grow and have support in a company, as well as mentorship, which is very important for young people." Read more here.

Photo of Isaiah McMullen, MC alumni-now-full-time-employee, and Lucy Minturn, Owner/Operator of FosterWorks.
Manufacturing Connect Participants Share Their Second Impressions
This cohort started in January 2022. (Here is the first story about their experience in the program). We circled back with a few participants to get their perspective about how it’s going learning new skills and learning about the world of manufacturing and here are their latest stories.
MC Participants David Curry, Yazmin Barajas, Jeremiah Hall
Profile: Dee Dee Jones, Industry Coordinator Extraordinaire!
Dee Dee Jones, Industry Coordinator for Manufacturing Renaissance, works closely with companies and students to make our programs work. Dee Dee grew up in Austin, graduated from Austin Community High School, and still lives in Austin today. She is responsible for recruiting companies for field trips, job shadowing experiences, internships, and career opportunities. She also prepares students for careers in manufacturing. Affectionately known by our YMAers as "Da Plug" we asked her to share her perspective about what we do – and why our job training programs (Manufacturing Connect and the Young Manufacturers Association) are making a difference. Read more here!
Young Manufacturers Association Spring Training Cohort Underway
While outreach and recruitment has been an ongoing challenge throughout the pandemic, over 35 young adults expressed interest in the joining the Spring YMA Cohort. Sixteen of those that completed the application and interview process were accepted into the program, which launched on March 7th. Not all of them decided to start the training but 8 (1 woman, 7 men), decided to take the first step towards starting their manufacturing career. Participants reside throughout Cook County - from Austin, Roseland and the South Suburbs. They are actively engaging with our instructor, Brence, and moving through the curriculum. One participant shared that he feels like everything about his life is about to be elevated by what he’s learning. The cohort will wrap up the technical training and sit for their National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) credentialing exam in mid-May.
Photo from top. Left to right, in each row: Dawmonique, Brence (Instructor), Ocie, Wanya, William, Kevin.
MR Named Inaugural Stanley Black & Decker Makers Grant Award Recipient!
Stanley Black & Decker announced the recipients of its first “Empower Makers” Global Impact Challenge. Manufacturing Renaissance (MR) is honored to have been named as a Makers Grant Recipient for our Manufacturing Connect program and our efforts to expose, inspire and prepare high school youth for careers in manufacturing.

Initiated in 2021, the Global Impact Challenge grant program will award up to $25 million in grant funding over the next five years to nonprofits that are supporting trade workforce development initiatives in the construction and manufacturing sectors. With the first applications submitted in October 2021, 240 entrants were evaluated based on number of people served, outcomes projected, sustainable impact, depth of programs, and diversity, among many other considerations. MR was selected as one of 86 organizations that will help skill and reskill roughly 180,000 makers throughout 2022. Read more here!
"Manufacturing Ecosystem" and a New Definition to Support Inclusive, Equitable Community Development
If you’re working in a space that is similar to the space Manufacturing Renaissance works in you’ve started to hear the words “manufacturing ecosystem” thrown around quite a bit. As a former ecologist, my interest was piqued at the notion. I quickly imagined the manufacturing ecosystem to mean the diverse mix of stakeholders, participants, practitioners, beneficiaries in and around the manufacturing sector, including companies, people and the local governments, organizations and programs that get people into those companies. Like anyone with a question, I Googled “Manufacturing Ecosystem.” What I found was... Read more here.
Resolution Introduced in Chicago's City Council to Endorse the Manufacturing Reinvestment Corporation Act
  • The importance of the intersection between manufacturing and education and career and technical education in the City of Chicago towards building a broad-based middle class. 
  • The foundational work of the Manufacturing Connect program and the network of practitioners and allies part of the Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC) to expand an inclusive manufacturing ecosystem in Chicago.
  • Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s HR 5124 bill filed in the House of Representatives in August 2021 to expand inclusive and sustainable manufacturing development in communities across the country includes direct support for programs and initiatives that advance the objectives outlined in the bill.
Ald. Rodriguez’s resolution further seeks to establish a task force in Chicago to...Read more here.
Thurgood Marshall College Fund: Focus on Career Pathways
In the last year, Manufacturing Renaissance has played a key role in partnering with organizations and building a coalition to raise awareness of the need to grow the manufacturing sector in this country in an equitable and sustainable way. This effort has helped lead to the introduction of HR5124 –The Manufacturing Reinvestment Corporation Act—by Illinois Congresswoman by Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky) which has gained momentum in Washington.

One prominent group that is now connected to this effort is the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. The TMCF sees that this bill and growing coalition efforts to support manufacturing align with its mission. “With the passage of HR 5124, public HBCUs, including Chicago State University, would have additional resources to bolster manufacturing in their communities, while producing talent for the future workforce,” said founder Dr. Joyce Payne. Read more here.
Welcome New and Renewed CMRC Members!

Grace Chan McKibben

Jubilee Church

4th Annual Southworks Engineering and Robotics Olympics A Success!
The Southworks Robotics Olympics event returned after a two-year hiatus to South Suburban College Saturday, 4/23/22. OAI, Inc. and Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation worked passionately on this all year and were incredibly excited for the 15 High Schools who showed a fantastic display of ingenuity, creativity and collaboration. Read more here.
IMEC Monthly Events
The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center has regular technical assistance forums and workshops for manufacturers in Illinois. Upcoming events will cover cyber security and best practices for retaining new employees. Read more here.
Recent Articles and Reports on Inclusive Manufacturing and Development
Contributing writer for MR's newsletter: Dan Baron, dan@danbaron.com
If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved, click here.