June 17, 2016



As we congratulate the 27 Manufacturing Connect (MC) graduating class of 2016 participants and support them in taking their first steps into college or a career-job, we are eager to have some of them join the ranks of the Young Manufacturers Association (YMA). The YMA is a small but growing network of young adults who’s mission it is to introduce young people to the opportunities available in manufacturing and to assist them in getting started and advancing on their career path. Like Torres Hughes pictured above, Class of 2012, has been working as a Machine Operator at Freedman Seating for the last 18 months. On June 10th, Torres helped host 14 eighth graders from Northwest Middle School.  Here he explained how a computerized bending machine is used in making new prototypes and new production parts. Many of the 8th graders walked away understanding the value this company brings the community and the pride the employees have in return. Some students have expressed ambitions of being involved with engineering and manufacturing.

Chicago Public Schools invited MR to pilot an engineering and manufacturing enrichment program for over 200 eighth graders this past school year at Northwest Middle School in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood adjacent to the Austin neighborhood. This initiative was unique in that it was co-taught by MR’s Pablo Varela, Machining Instructor and Austin High School’s Kevin Russell who normally teaches Social Studies. The field trip to Freedman Seating was the last activity of year.  Of the 200 students who participated in the 5-week enrichment class, 50 reported that as a result of the class they are seriously considering engineering & manufacturing as a career path. We look forward to partnering more with YMA members in the future to help inspire the next generation of young people thinking about their careers.

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