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From Evanston Now
By Lee V. Gaines
City and state officials gathered today in Evanston's West End to promote manufacturing businesses in the area and encourage local students to consider careers in the field.
As part of the second annual Manufacturing Day, over 90 eighth graders were invited to tour manufacturing facilities in the industrial area. Evanston Township High School students lead the tours while sharing their own experiences in manufacturing-focused youth training programs.
Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, State Sen. Daniel Biss and State Rep. Robyn Gabel also participated in the day's events, which began at IRMCO, a manufacturer of industrial lubricants located at 2117 Greenleaf St.
Standing outside the IRMCO facility, Preckwinkle said that while many people believe China to be the world's manufacturing giant, the U.S. is actually the largest manufacturer of goods.
And although many manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas during the last several decades, Preckwinkle said there is a "great demand for advanced manufacturing" labor in the U.S.
This kind of industry is an "important part of the economy we need to work hard to support," Preckwinkle said.
"When we manufacture overseas we are exporting not just jobs but know how and technology," she said, adding that doing so gives the nation's global competitors an advantage.
On a local level, Tisdahl said the city is working hard to inform 18 to 25 year olds about the job opportunities available in this field.
Biss said there are "an extraordinary number" of high quality manufacturing positions that have remained unfilled in the state of Illinois. Helping young people achieve the training they need to get such a job would "be an opportunity for tremendous economic growth for the state," said Gabel. Tisdahl said she hopes today's event encourages students to pursue these jobs in Evanston and beyond. And on the first day of a historical federal government shutdown, Tisdalh said she'd also like the students "to know not all governments are shutdown."
"Officials are all here working to make sure jobs stay in Evanston," she said.
Other companies who participated in Manufacturing Day include artisan coffee maker Coffee Speed Shop, 2000 Greenleaf St., bar supplies distributor Collins Brothers, 2113 Greenleaf St., manufacturer of brushless alternators C.E. Niehoff, 2012 Lee St., optical component maker Sterling Precision, 1926 Greenleaf St., baked goods producer Sugar & Spice Extraordinary Sweet Treats, 829 Foster St., printer Allegra Marketing, 1255 Hartrey Ave., laminating machine maker Thermal Laminating Corporation, 2220 Greenleaf St., and metal stamping plant Ward Manufacturing, 2230 Main St..
The Evanston WestEnd business district organized a tour of local manufacturing businesses for Wednesday in recognition of National Manufacturing Day.
The tour, which will begin at IRMCO, 2117 Greanleaf St., will visit a total of seven businesses from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to a city news release. All businesses are located within a three-block radius from the starting point. Evanston Food4Less will provide refreshments at IRMCO.
Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd Ward) and other state and local officials will attend the tour.
Manufacturing Day is nationally observed and supported by a variety of manufacturing organizations, such as the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Manufacturers, according to the release. It was created to increase awareness of the industry and manufacturing careers.
— Susan Du