SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – More than 200 events will take place across Illinois throughout October to mark Manufacturing Month, a celebration of the industry’s important role as the backbone of the state and national economy.
Manufacturers will open their doors to the public for in-depth facility tours. Community colleges will host job fairs highlighting employment opportunities, and schools will connect students with state-of-the-art technology that is transforming the industry, said the Illinois Manufacturing Association in a press release this week.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a proclamation designating October Manufacturing Month. National Manufacturing Day is Oct. 4.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association toured the state during the summer to highlight a recent analysis that found the manufacturing industry in Illinois generates $304.8 billion in output each year – the single largest contribution by any industry.
Statewide, manufacturers directly employ 592,200 women and men. These are good paying, middle-class jobs with an average salary of $88,691, providing a total of $52 billion in wages and benefits across Illinois, IMA said.
A key challenge facing the industry is an aging workforce, IMA said. Over the next decade, it’s estimated that 300,000 men and women will leave shop floors as baby boomers retire. Manufacturing Day and Manufacturing Month provide a window for millions of school kids nationally to get an inside look at the incredible opportunities that exist through pursuing a career in the manufacturing industry.
The IMA’s Education Foundation works with schools across the state to create pathways for students to begin acquiring specific skills during their high school years, IMA said. In addition, the IMA also worked in partnership with lawmakers and the governor this spring to establish a new apprenticeship tax credit, which will allow manufacturers to jump-start their efforts to build a pipeline of workers to help fill the next generation of manufacturing jobs.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is the only statewide association dedicated exclusively to advocating, promoting and strengthening the manufacturing sector in Illinois, the company says. The IMA is the oldest and largest state manufacturing trade association in the United States, representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities.