December 3, 2018

The Illinois Institute of Technology Design Institute shared the final report from their "Made in Chicago" project. The project, which took over the course of a year, aimed to map and understand the ecosystem of "making and manufacturing" present in Chicago's economy.

Specifically, it sought to answer the three following questions: 


"How might Chicago’s economy evolve to support more pluralistic modes of making and manufacturing in the future? How might production, consumption and ownership be
transformed to support local and cooperative economies linked to global markets? How
might principles of social and economic justice be embedded into these complex
economic systems?"


Erica Staley, Director of Operations, was interviewed by Becky Marshall and Professor Laura Forlano to talk about how Manufacturing Renaissance addresses the social and

economic divide that currently challenges Chicago's making and manufacturing system. As an organization, we strongly believe in the power of manufacturing for transforming communities: it has a positive social and economic impact. “Every $ spent in manufacturing adds $1.37 to the US economy; every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility creates an additional 250 in other sectors” (The skills gap in US manufacturing 2015 and beyond, Deloitte, 2015). According to a recent report by the Great Cities Institute and The Century Foundation (Revitalizing Manufacturing and Expanding Opportunities for Chicago’s Black and Latino Communities, 6/8/18), “manufacturing remains a larger and more vibrant source of employment opportunity” in the Chicago Region with the 4th highest number of job openings among 20 industrial clusters in the region. In effect, there are two job openings for every one hire in manufacturing, creating a shortage of approximately 30,000 workers currently needed in the region.


Our work is mentioned as a solution for bridging the skills gap and navigating the succession gap, by at the same time embedding notions of economic and social inclusion. All our programs are informed by the struggle to promote access to education, training and ownership to underserved communities, particularly communities of color. Our goal is to connect the opportunities available in Chicago's manufacturing sector to those who needs jobs the most. 


The "Made in Chicago" project came about after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala initiated the partnership between IIT Institute of Design and Politecnico di Milano. To read the full report please follow this link




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