Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman today joined leaders from the manufacturing industry at City Colleges’ first-ever Manufacturing Summit to discuss how the sector is collaborating with Daley College’s advanced manufacturing programs to prepare students for careers in the competitive workforce and address the growing skills gap.
“Our city has a long and proud manufacturing tradition that has created good-paying, family-sustaining jobs for Chicagoans,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As the industry advances, Chicago will remain a national manufacturing leader by forging close partnerships between employers and our community college system to prepare Chicagoans with advanced skills to seize the manufacturing jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Retirements by manufacturing professionals and advances in both manufacturing technology and business practices have accelerated the need to up-skill current workers and hire new workers with advanced skills. Furthermore, an estimated 14,000 job openings in the manufacturing industry are expected over the next decade in the Chicago region, a figure that could grow with the recent $70 million federal investment in a Chicago-based digital manufacturing institute aimed at developing new innovations.
City Colleges is addressing both a skills and information gap through its College to Careers initiative, launched by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chancellor Cheryl Hyman in December 2011. Through College to Careers, industry-leading companies and four-year colleges work alongside City Colleges faculty and staff to revamp City Colleges’ occupational programs, including advanced manufacturing, and ensure students receive relevant, hands-on training that prepares them to hit the ground running in high-demand careers.
“Through College to Careers, we are focusing our career programs on high-growth industries in our region and working with industry partners to ensure that Chicagoans areprepared with the relevant skills employers demand,” said Chancellor Hyman. “Students in Daley College’s College to Careers advanced manufacturing program, for instance, are building the skills needed in today’s high-tech manufacturing workplace and preparing for well-paying careers with the opportunity for growth.”
In both City Colleges’ manufacturing certificate and degree programs, Chicagoans learn skills that prepare them for Computer Numerical Control and Machining careers. Students who graduate with an associate degree in advanced manufacturing are qualified for entry-level manufacturing jobs paying $45-60,000 annually with the opportunity for significantgrowth within only a few years. In certificate programs, students gain marketable, industry-recognized credentials from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) that help them move up the career ladder while earning a degree.
Through College to Careers, investments have been made in the advanced manufacturingprogram with the guidance and input of manufacturing partners. In fact, Daley College is the only educational institution in Illinois with two high-tech welding machines that give students access to hands-on training. The college recently acquired the VRTEX 360 training system, which allows students to practice welding virtually, and a robotic welding educational cell.
The Daley College advanced manufacturing program has experienced a 40-percent jump inenrollment. All of the certificate students in the most recent cohort of Daley College’s Calumet Green Manufacturing program, which is funded through the Department of Labor’s Green Jobs Innovation Fund, found jobs within their field. Since the College to Careers initiative launched its first programs in Fall 2012, more than 9,500 students have enrolled in College to Careers fields leading to occupational certificates and associate degrees. In addition, more than 1,200 students were placed in jobs and paid internships within a College to Careers industry since the launch of initiative.