• October is Manufacturing Month which celebrates and brings awareness of manufacturing to students, parents, people thinking about careers in manufacturing, the public, and educators.
    “Elgin has traditionally been a center for manufacturing making everything from street sweepers to ball bearings,” says Carol Gieske, Elgin Area Chamber President. “The manufacturing sector in Elgin is one of the largest sectors of the economy and employs thousands of people in positions that require critical thinking skills, technical skills, attention to detail, and communication skills.”
    According to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Illinois is the fourth largest manufacturing state in the country, with over 18,000 companies employing over 550,000 Illinoisans.
    “The celebration helps show the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation to open their doors to students, parents, teachers, and community leaders,” says Tony Lucenko, Director of Elgin Development Group. Manufacturing Month empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive. 
    Lucenko shared some interesting facts about manufacturing:
    Manufacturers are the number one employer of Elgin residents with nearly one in every six Elginites employed by manufacturers from around the area.
    Manufacturers are the second largest employer in Elgin, just behind education and ahead of health care.
    For every $1 earned in direct labor income in the manufacturing sector, there will be another $3.14 in labor income earned elsewhere which is the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector. 
    For every one worker in manufacturing, there are another five employees hired elsewhere.
    By 2030, 4 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled.
    The average annual income of manufacturing workers now exceeds $80,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
         Lucenko cited manufacturers like Elgin Sweeper, American NTN Bearing, Hoffer Plastics, Elgiloy Specialty Metals, Elgin Industries and Erwin Junker Machinery along with dozens of other local companies all make up the fabric of our vibrant and diverse manufacturing sector. 
    “Manufacturing has a long and successful history in the United States and in particular the Elgin area,” says Mike Higgins, Vice President and General Manager of Elgin Sweeper Company.  “Today we’re seeing a resurgence to “control our own destiny” and manufacture as much as we can right here in our own country.  This will continue to drive the need for more skilled workers in the manufacturing sector and bring about great opportunities for those who choose to pursue any of the many different career paths available in manufacturing.”
    “For many reasons, manufacturing has enjoyed a resurgence in the U.S. creating many new job opportunities in modern, high tech manufacturing facilities. If you weren't aware, there are an increasing number of great careers available in Elgin area companies, These are good paying jobs with a bright future as America returns to producing its own goods,” says Mike Bilyk, President & CEO, American NTN Bearings.
    Organizations such as the Elgin Development Group, Elgin Community College, Alignment Collaborative for Education, School Districts U-46 and 301, Fabricators and Manufacturers Association and others help to grow and support the manufacturing industry’s skilled workers. These diverse initiatives support women, veterans, students and workers through skills training programs, community building and supporting the advancement of their career in manufacturing. 
    Just last week, School District U-46 offered Explore, the annual curriculum and career expo for 8th graders offered virtually this year and manufacturing is well represented as a career option. Local volunteers from many manufacturing companies will showcase occupations available in this business sector. 
         “A career in manufacturing is a rewarding choice which allows individuals to essentially play an integral part of the whole economic engine of the US,” says Pattie Lane, Patrick Manufacturing. “The pride of learning the technical skills necessary to carry out your part of this manufacturing industry – offers career growth from the simple tasks to the most complex manufacturing system designs – they are all incredibly important and all are valued.”