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Rahm Touts 'Hiring Season' in Campaign to Fill 1,000 Manufacturing Jobs

By Ted Cox | June 5, 2015 6:03pm
 Mayor Rahm Emanuel with manufacturing workers at a West Side factory for making CTA bus seats.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel with manufacturing workers at a West Side factory for making CTA bus seats.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — The mayor is touting a new campaign to place workers in manufacturing jobs Friday, while an Austin agency prepares "graduates" of a training program to take advantage of it.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that the "1,000 Jobs in Chicago Manufacturing" program launched last year has been expanded with a website where prospective workers can register for open positions.

"The future of manufacturing is advanced manufacturing, skilled labor," said Loren Dinneen, the "1,000 Jobs" program manager through World Business Chicago. "So we're really trying to connect those who have skills with good, open, available jobs."

According to the Mayor's Press Office, the program either placed or provided training for 260 workers over the last year, with Dinneen saying 164 were actually placed in positions. It typically steered workers to Daley College for training, and the mayor is also pointing the unemployed to an Urban League job fair June 17 at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.

The Urban League also planned a series of pre-job-fair workshops June 15 and 16.

"This is an important program for Mayor Emanuel since workforce development and manufacturing and advanced manufacturing are key to continued economic growth and job creation in Chicago," said mayoral spokeswoman Libby Langsdorf.

On the West Side, in Austin, the nonprofit organization Bethel New Life has been training workers in advanced manufacturing and steering them to firms through the "1,000 Jobs" program, as well as a partnership with the Technology Manufacturing Association. On Friday, it graduated 14 trainees, making 73 people who have completed its Advanced Manufacturing Training program over the last two years.

"Graduates of the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program have demonstrated the motivation and skills to acquire their credentials, and to acclimate well in their new career and earn promotions. These
graduates are the solution to the skills gap in manufacturing," said Ed Coleman, Bethel New Life's chief innovation officer. "The partnership with TMA and World Business Chicago increases the program's capacity to bring opportunities to our West Side community residents, while helping the manufacturing industry in the Chicago region become more competitive."

The programs point out the need for employees to get trained in operating technologically advanced machinery in order to work in manufacturing, but also the need businesses have for workers trained on those machines. The Bethel program provides training on the way to formal certification.

According to Dinneen, there are thousands of manufacturing jobs available in the Chicago area for those with proper training. "You need to take advantage," he said.

"Motivated AMT graduates get hired, and are often promoted and given pay increases within a year," said Jumaani Bates, Bethel New Life's workforce-development specialist and "1,000 Jobs" account executive.

Through its partnerships, Bethel offers the training, valued at $6,000, to all applicants 18 and older. According to Dinneen, it's one of five city organizations working in tandem on training and placement with World Business Chicago.

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