Post submitted by Vanessa Uribe, Vanessa.Uribe@cookcountyil.gov
On March 24, the Chicago Metro Metal Consortium (CMMC) and Choose DuPage hosted “Metals and Machinery Manufacturing: Talent, Development, and Retention” at the College of DuPage. Over 60 participants heard from local manufacturers about their experience with talent development and retention.
Jim Jett, President of CHIPS Manufacturing, Inc., Aneesa Muthana, President and Co-Owner of Pioneer Service Inc., Aaron Wiegel, President of Wiegel Tool Works, Inc., and John Bradarich, Affiliate Relations Manager of Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, noted several important takeaways during their panel:
• Manufacturers should invest in their future workforce by connecting with local middle and high schools, establishing relationships with parents, teachers, and coaches, and hosting students for Manufacturing Day and throughout the year to get young students excited about careers in manufacturing.
• Company culture matters so it’s important to create an environment of respect, value your employees, and nurture careers, which naturally reciprocates loyalty and longevity.
• Develop strategic internal hiring practices, such as standards for hiring at entry level and then training for your company or developing internal apprenticeship programs, with the goal of shaping and molding employees to your needs. In other words, “hire for attitude, train for aptitude.”
• Support the regional manufacturing ecosystem because when the region is successful, individual firms are provided with more opportunities. Join associations, boards, networking events, and share resources.
A second panel featured representatives from WorkNet DuPage, U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship, and the Chicago Federation of Labor. They offered information about resources available to local manufacturers, including grant funding for training programs, support for the development of apprenticeship programs, and youth outreach programs. The most notable takeaway from this discussion highlighted the need for firms to invest in their workforce, with existing data ensuring a strong return on their investment. Following the panel, participants received a tour of the College of DuPage’s Manufacturing Technology lab.