Skilled workers are desperately needed in manufacturing due to growth, a retiring workforce, and reshoring. This article explains how many manufacturers are collaborating with local community colleges to develop career pathways and training opportunities to get students trained and working as soon as possible.

Elgin Community College (ECC), for example, has trained students for careers in manufacturing based on the Jobs for the Future’s Accelerating Opportunity Initiative. One pathway was created for the college’s Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Operator certification. This “stackable” certification offers the initial credential, apprenticeships, and the potential to work towards an associates degree. Joel Perez, a successful graduate of ECC’s Industrial Manufacturing program, said “career pathways are designed so that they don’t let you fail … through the strong partnership between my college and regional employers, I was able to get trained, get employed, and start building a better future for myself and my children.”

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