CHICAGO – Noting that it “will continue to set the bar for exceptional metalworking training” in Illinois, the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) accredited City Colleges of Chicago’s Manufacturing Technology program at Daley College. The decision signals to manufacturing employers that Daley College graduates possess industry-standard skills in areas including Computerized Numerical Control (CNC), milling and grinding. NIMS is the only organization in North America that develops and maintains metalworking standards written and validated by industry. Earning national accreditation indicates that NIMS standards are fully integrated into a training curriculum. The Level 1 Machining Skills accreditation, which City Colleges’ Humboldt Park Vocational Educational Center was awarded in 2011, lasts three years.“This accreditation is more evidence that City Colleges offers cutting-edge—but affordable—industry-recognized occupational programs,” City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman said. “As the hub of our College to Careers manufacturing program, Daley College plays a central role in our efforts to close the region’s skills gap through industry partnerships so that more Chicagoans get the right skills, and good jobs.”The NIMS accreditation is the culmination of a year of positive developments for Daley’s manufacturing program:
- Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chancellor Hyman announced in October that Daley’s College to Careers’ focus is high-tech manufacturing, and that it will have two program areas: Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) and Factory Automation, both of which require mathematics knowledge to operate computer-guided heavy machinery.
- Ten companies have already joined College to Careers as industry partners: Arrow Gear, GC America, Kay Manufacturing, Northstar Aerospace, Rexam, S + C Electric, Solo Cup, UPS, WaterSaver Faucet Co., Lincoln Electric.
- Daley students earned 141 industry-recognized credentials during 2012, including 125 NIMS credentials—a record for the program. (Schools can incorporate credentialing into their programs without being accredited by NIMS.)
- Enrollment in the program more than doubled year over year, from Fall 2011 and Fall 2012.
- 31 students enrolled in 2012 through the Calumet Green Manufacturing Partnership, a federally funded program designed to help manufacturing companies located in the Calumet and Southland region of Chicago acquire skilled CNC operators with industry credentials. Daley College is one of three official CGMP training partners.
- The program became the only educational institution in Illinois with two special training machines for welding—a Virtual Welding Machine trainer and a Robotic Welding Educational Cell—giving students access to uniquely high-tech training.
“Through close partnerships with local manufacturers, we are developing an employer-driven, best-in-class curriculum,” said Ray Prendergast, executive director of manufacturing at City Colleges of Chicago. “This accreditation makes clear that our equipment, safety standards and training are all up to industry standards.”
Brian Pelke, president of Kay Manufacturing Co. in Calumet City, Illinois, hired multiple graduates of the program in 2012. “I’m proud that my company is a College to Careers partner—the program at Daley offers students uniquely valuable high-tech training that is essential to the future of this country’s manufacturing industry,” said Pelke, a member of the Daley College Industry Advisory Board. “That’s why I send my employees to Daley for further training, and hire recent graduates from the program. I often will pick a Daley graduate over a four-year engineering degree holder, because they have the right skills for the job.”
"I learned valuable skills at Daley College that jumpstarted my new career," said Kenneth Noble, who was hired as a CNC operator by Kay Manufacturing in December after earning NIMS credentials at Daley through a 16-week Calumet Green Manufacturing Partnership program. "Now I'm comfortable with the latest industry technologies, and that gives me confidence and job stability.”
To make graduates even more attractive to potential employers, Daley intends to embed NIMS credentials within the manufacturing technology associate of applied science degree program, so that all graduates will leave college with a degree and at least one industry-approved credential.
All of these developments are part of the College to Careers program, launched by Mayor Emanuel and Chancellor Hyman in December 2011 to partner industry experts in high-growth sectors with City Colleges faculty and staff at six colleges. They will develop relevant, innovative curricula in order to close the skills gap by preparing students for careers in six sectors projected to provide more than 500,000 job openings in the Chicago area over the next decade. Along with advanced manufacturing, the sectors are: healthcare (Malcolm X College); transportation, distribution and logistics (Olive-Harvey College); business, entrepreneurship and professional services (Harold Washington College); information technology (Wright College); and culinary/hospitality (Kennedy-King College).