IMTS (the International Manufacturing Technology Show), one of the world’s largest manufacturing events, brought leading global organizations, industry professionals, and experts to Chicago’s McCormick Place the week of September 8. The event included exhibits and seminars, hosting 2,000 exhibitors and a record of almost 115,000 registrants.

INAM (Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing) attended and exhibited at the show to represent its statewide network of education, training, and certification programs to interested students, companies, and area professionals. Representatives from the program at various local colleges manned the booth, answering questions, providing information, and handing out communications materials.

According to William Kuban of Prairie State College, visitors to the booth came from all areas and levels of the industry, including students, professionals, and salespeople. When asked how people generally reacted to the INAM booth, William stated, “there seemed to be a lot of interest. Most people commented that it was great to see that all of the colleges came together to support manufacturing and get the curriculum put together the way we did.”
Out on the exhibit floor, a common theme continued to repeat itself: One of the major concerns overheard from various industry experts was that companies complain increasingly of not having enough access to skilled and trained personnel. This is especially problematic when it comes to the need to replace a retiring workforce. INAM is certainly in the right place at the right time in that regard, and will close this skills gap through its network of colleges, educational programs, and career resources – building the foundation for the future of advanced manufacturing in the state.

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