Illinois is a leading manufacturing state, and the Fox Valley area is home to many dynamic manufacturers, distributors, and packaging companies.
With many challenges facing these industries during the pandemic, many are wondering what the future holds. Recently, in an effort to update area businesses and provide an outlook on Illinois manufacturing, the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom discussion on Sept. 2, 2020 with Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, founded in 1893, represents 4,000 members within the industry. Denzler started in his current position in January 2019 after serving previously as vice president and COO.
“The outlook for manufacturing jobs is strong in Illinois,” said Denzler and in fact there were over “300,000 open jobs in the manufacturing sector (in Illinois), as of August 2020.” With so many opportunities available in the manufacturing field, this is a great area to explore, not only by individuals whose roles may have been impacted by COVID-19 and the current economic environment, but also for students to consider for future career opportunities.
To that end, with Oct. 2 recognized as Manufacturing Day, the St Charles Chamber of Commerce Industrial Committee is partnering with St. Charles Community Unit School District 303, Elgin Community College, and local manufacturers to increase awareness of the many opportunities available within the manufacturing sector.
During the month of October, the Chamber will feature a series of videos about various specialties within manufacturing fields such as plastics, packaging, food processing, chemicals and fabrication. Throughout the month, the Chamber will feature local manufacturers who will provide a behind the scenes look at their facilities and an overview of job opportunities, required skills, and advancement opportunities within their organizations.
This program series will be hosted on the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce website and be made available to Dist. 303 middle school and high school students and their parents as well as students at Elgin Community College. The video series will also be distributed through community social media channels.
“Providing students with authentic learning experiences is vital in our ever-changing world and educational landscape. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Chamber to provide these meaningful virtual work-based learning events for our students,” said Dr. Melissa Byrne, District 303 director of college and career readiness.
The Manufacturing Month program will be accessible at https://stcharleschamber.com/MFG/.
Jim Di Ciaula is president and CEO of the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce.