In honor of #WomenHistoryMonth we want to highlight the success stories of our girls and young women that are discovering and building a career in manufacturing.

40% of our Manufacturing Connect participants are female and 28% of our Young Manufacturers Association members.

Manufacturing has long been a male dominated trade. In Chicago 3% of the 200,000 trade workers are female and 30% nationwide. We are trying to change this trend, particularly for low-income communities, because manufacturing jobs offers good starting wages, great benefits and a career path.

Shameka Bailey graduated from Austin College & Career Academy in June 2018 with a job offer in one hand and a college acceptance letter in the other. She had been a Manufacturing Connect participant since her Freshman year.

During her Senior year, Shameka worked part-time as a Packaging Operator at Ferrara Candy Company. The work-study internship is a great opportunity for those who are on track to graduate and want to start having work-experience under their belt. It provides a more gradual and nurturing on-boarding process.

Shameka also earned her second National Institute for Metalworking Skills Credential in Computer Numerical Control Turning Operation. When she graduated, Shameka accepted an offer to work full-time at Ferrara, earning $18.63/hour plus benefits. She is also taking classes at Triton College.

Shameka is also a member of our Young Manufacturers Association (YMA), our network of young adults currently working or aiming to work in manufacturing. Through the YMA, she receives individualized coaching and peer support, by participating in monthly meetings. She continues to be involved in community and alumni events. For example, in occasion of ManufacturingDay, she came back to her high school to talk to Manufacturing Connect participants and inspire them to pursue manufacturing as a career.

Thanks to her hard work, she was able to buy her first car!

Dasia Richards is in her Junior year at Austin College & Career Academy; she has been a Manufacturing Connect participant since her Freshman year.

Dasia just completed her Job Shadow Day at Laystrom Manufacturing Company, where she shadowed Jeff Decc, Plant Manager, and got the chance to work in the packaging department for couple of hours.

Dasia is currently enrolled in the Computer Aided Manufacturing dual credit class receiving partial college credits from Daley College. She also already earned 2 credentials in Measurement, & Safety and CNC Turning from the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

She has participated in our mentoring program and took several plant tours to manufacturing companies. Last year she participated in our Summer Impact job, which allows Sophomores to work in the machine shop on a specific project and learn soft-skills while earning a stipend.

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3411 W. Diversey Ave, Suite 10

Chicago, IL 60647


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