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St. Charles Chamber hosts virtual panel as part of manufacturing program

With the outlook on Illinois manufacturing strong, the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a month-long manufacturing program which ended with a panel discussion of local manufacturers, students and teachers of St. Charles School District 303.
With the outlook on Illinois manufacturing strong, the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a month-long manufacturing program which ended with a panel discussion of local manufacturers, students and teachers of St. Charles School District 303.

ST. CHARLES – With the outlook on Illinois manufacturing strong, the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a monthlong manufacturing program that ended with a virtual panel discussion of local manufacturers, students and teachers in St. Charles School District 303.

The panel was facilitated by Cheryl Flood of Practical HR and chairwoman of the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce Industrial Committee, Laura Swarts of Flexicorps and Melissa Byrne and Carol Smith of District 303.

“Providing students with authentic learning experiences is vital in our ever-changing world and educational landscape,” Byrne, District 303 director of college and career readiness, said in a news release from the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Chamber to provide these meaningful virtual work-based learning events for our students,”

Panelists included John Burch of Bison Gear, Anne Hauca of Elgin Community College, Louis Leon of FONA International, Mike Madsen of Wise Plastics Technologies, Dave McLaughlin of Clarke, Toni Neary of Haas Manufacturing and Anita Tyndall of The Packaging Source.

The panel addressed many key topics including the future outlook for the manufacturing sector, how companies have pivoted their product line for COVID-19, the qualities and characteristics that manufacturer’s look for in potential employees, the misconceptions of advanced manufacturing, internship opportunities, curriculum choices that students can make to prepare for and pursue a career in manufacturing and employers’ desired characteristics and soft skills for ideal candidates.

Details of the Chamber’s manufacturing month program, a recording of the panel discussion and the resources and videos accumulated from dozens of manufacturing businesses throughout the month are accessible at stcharleschamber.com/MFG.

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