Manufacturing ignites our senses. The sights, touches, sounds and smells of making things captivate us. Today’s production technologies are alive with seemingly limitless motions to spin, shave, assemble, fill, measure, move, label and package all the manufactured items in our lives. We’re mesmerized by the technologies, framed with painted floors and bright lighting, that are sequenced to create the transformative nature of manufacturing. The sensory experiences light up our brains. This is manufacturing.
As we embrace our optimism for the post-pandemic economy, manufacturing is full of career potential for a workforce of all levels of experience. With over 360,000 manufacturing jobs in the Chicagoland region, a career in manufacturing is an incredible and seemingly endless opportunity. Successful careers in this job market are framed around the job seeker, the company hiring and the resource partners.
This resource guide will open doors to create a pathway to a successful and fulfilling career. If you like to be innovative, solve problems, be part of a team, and to see how the output from your efforts make society better … explore manufacturing. Careers in manufacturing provide a lifetime of opportunities and high wages if you commit to learning critical skills and new technologies. A step into a manufacturing career today opens the door to so much opportunity tomorrow. This guide is your first of your career pathway in manufacturing.
Now, more than ever, is the time to be dedicated to our workforce. We lament the skills gap and have done so for well over a decade. We’re doers and problem solvers. We need to think differently and try new approaches to solve the gap once and for all. It starts with retaining current employees, improving engagement and offering different career experiences. And we must nurture new recruitment pipelines and reshape relationships with partners, schools and referral sources. Finally, we must own a commitment to constantly look for new ways to upskill our current and future talent to remain competitive.
You’re the guides and the trainers who connect a successful career seeker with a competitive talent-driven company. We’re a region with extensive resources from our community colleges and Illinois workforce boards — among so many other incredible training partners. Serving job seekers and companies is the role we embrace for the future of Chicagoland. The need is too great for us to remain status quo. It’s time for us to double down on how we listen, provide and solve the skills gap challenges.
IMEC is honored to be a part of this resource guide dedicated to the most critical topic in our economy … strong pathways in a fulfilling manufacturing career. For 25 years, we’ve helped develop skills and apply talent on the job. We’ve guided leaders to think in new ways to engage their workforce. And we’ve worked with numerous partners because we know it takes all of us working together. We remain committed to doing our part and know this guide will provide new insights and connections.
David Boulay Ph.D., IMEC President