World Business Chicago recently convened Manufacturing Connect, a two-hour program that brought together manufacturers and civic leaders to build momentum for the growing manufacturing sector in the city.
Manufacturing firms create many benefits for the City of Chicago including high-quality jobs that do not require advanced degrees, career path employment opportunities, local supply chains, and significant contributions to the general revenue fund.
Hosted by Freedman Seating Company, a fourth-generation, family-owned manufacturing business on the West Side, the event featured a panel discussion (pictured above) moderated by Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Samir Mayekar.
Several common themes emerged during the panel discussion. First, companies agreed that recruiting and training new workers is a top priority. Despite the lingering pandemic, these firms see increased growth opportunities and plan to hire more Chicago residents.
One of the lessons of the pandemic is the great value of having a local supply chain, which can be created by recruiting and supporting a diverse mix of manufacturing.
After workforce development, the panelists identified public infrastructure and having land zoned for manufacturing and industrial use as pressing needs.
Following the panel discussion, Erica Swinney Staley (see below right), Executive Director of Manufacturing Renaissance, made a bold and passionate pitch for leaders in the audience to join the movement to grow and protect manufacturing.
This effort requires persistent advocacy, managing diverse stakeholders, and engaging with youth and providing experiences within the manufacturing sector.
North Branch Works is pleased to see the City of Chicago making a strong commitment to protecting and growing manufacturing.
With a strong market for industrial property, we see opportunities to recruit new firms that will diversify our economy, carry out essential work, and employ Chicago residents in head-of-household jobs.
Our advocacy work to protect land zoned for industrial and manufacturing uses in the North Branch supports the City of Chicago’s goal of growing manufacturing.
Indeed, we urge the City of Chicago to develop a citywide plan for industrial land so that requests to re-zone individual land parcels can be viewed within a larger context.
If you missed it, our Manufacturing Summit in March highlighted the role that manufacturing can play in advancing healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities.
We would like to thank World Business Chicago and Paulina Martinez, Director of Business Development, for organizing Manufacturing Connect.
North Branch Works look forward to a continued partnership with leaders and our fellow Local Industrial Retention Initiative (LIRI) delegate agencies in pursuit of this worthy goal.
Ultimately, the growth of manufacturing will increase the quality-of-life and build wealth in Chicago neighborhoods.