"This is way more fun and interesting than being in class" Edson Martinez, Junior at Prosser Career Academy, while at Chicago Metal Supply.

26 Manufacturing Connect participants from Austin College & Career Academy and Prosser Career Academy participated in Job Shadow Day last Thursday, February 28. These 26 Juniors and Seniors shadowed professionals throughout their daily tasks from 9am til 2pm, by also getting the chance to complete some work on their own. 10 manufacturing companies collaborated with us by hosting 18 of the participants; the remaining 8 shadowed staff personnel within the Austin school.

The employers that participated were Chicago Metal Supply Inc., Columbia Metal Spinning, Freedman Seating Company, Hudson Precision Products Co., Laystrom Manufacturing Company, MATOT Inc., Meskan Foundry, Scot Forge, WaterSaver Faucet Company, and Zenith Fabricating Co.

At the end of the day, participants are "graded" from the employers, establishing whether they are work-ready. This will determine their participation for Spring Break Internship in April.

Job Shadow Day is a great experience because it provides a first glimpse into the world of manufacturing and what is possible. In addition, employers get to know and train their next potential employee. As the various industry reports and articles say, a top priority is to change the public perception around manufacturing, is to cancel the vision of "dirty, old jobs" and replace it with "high tech, high quality jobs".

Most of the youth we serve come to us without knowing anything about manufacturing. Thus, our Manufacturing Connect staff puts significant effort into building relationships and showcasing manufacturing as a more desirable career choice. This way participants become motivated to commit and persist through the challenges of learning new skills and behaviors.

Shamika and Jaquis spent the day at Water Saver Faucet Company, which has been one of our most longstanding partners. The machine shop at Austin College & Career Academy holds its name.

Dasia spent the day at Laystrom Manufacturing in packaging. When asked if she was enjoying it, she said "Yes. I like it here, the people are nice and open. I want to come back for my Spring Break Internship."

Kyana and Oswaldo at MATOT got down on some welding.

James was clearly having a good time at Freedman Seating Company.

James shadowed Mr. O'Brien, Engineering Teacher at Austin College & Career Academy.

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3411 W. Diversey Ave, Suite 10

Chicago, IL 60647


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