Manufacturing Savvy

Can Chicago's Kids Build Advanced Manufacturing Hub?

In a vote of confidence in the youth of Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel took part of the $5.6 million in Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funds that was returned by United Airlines on Monday and will invest $1.25 million in creating advanced manufacturing programs at Austin Polytechnical Academy.

Founded in 2007 by the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council, Austin Polytechnical Academy is a college and career prep high school with a focus on manufacturing and engineering.

"This crucial funding will allow us to take a decisive step forward in establishing Chicago as a hub for advanced manufacturing and a national leader in this growing and crucial field," said Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor and Co-Chair of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council. "I believe that by training our young workers and helping them into these apprenticeship programs, we will establish a base of leadership that will help Chicago move forward for years to come."

These actions fall within the city's economic development plan to create growth through advanced manufacturing.

The financing will fund the following five programs:

  • The Austin Manufacturing Innovation Park – The goal of this program is to begin the exploratory phase of building a manufacturing campus in Austin that would help local manufacturers access innovation and new technologies as well as skilled workforce.
  • The Austin Polytech Career Program – This program has an annual mission of recruiting partner companies to provide exposure to manufacturing careers through internships and other programming.
  • The Austin Manufacturing Training Program – This is a machining training and credentialing program for adults, that meets on evenings, weekends, and in the summer.
  • Elementary School Outreach – This funding will include a budget for outreach to elementary schools to get students interested in pursuing STEM education, manufacturing training, engineering and technology.
  • The ACT Bridge Program – The ACT bridge program prepares African-American males, ages 18 and up, with the math and English skills needed for community colleges or the Austin Manufacturing Training Program.
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