U.S. Congressmen Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Brad Schneider (IL-10), in honor of National Small Business Week, hosted a roundtable discussion with local manufacturing and education leaders to discuss the critical role science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education plays in the growth of manufacturing.
An estimated 600,000 manufacturing jobs are currently left unfilled because employers are unable to find workers with the necessary skill sets. Manufacturing is a critical component of Illinois's economy--accounting for 10 percent of jobs.
"Manufacturing offers some of the best paying jobs in our country and a clear pathway into the middle-class," said Quigley. "But students need the right education to take advantage of these positions. The insight provided by today's business leaders and educators is invaluable to developing the high-skilled workforce necessary to keep American manufacturing industry globally competitive."
"If we want to grow manufacturing, we need to better equip our students and workforce with the skills sets manufacturers are looking for," Schneider said. "Bringing our educators and manufacturers together, like we did today, is an essential in closing the skills gap."
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The Congressmen were joined by:
Zach Mottl: Chairman, Tooling & Manufacturing Association (TMA) & Chief Alignment Officer, Atlas Tool & Die Works)
Pam McDonough: President, Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing
Tim Merrigan: President, Chucking Machine Products
Curtis Snyder: Senior Management Business Development, Numerical Precision
John McGivern: General Manager, Strange Engineering, Inc.
Amy Schuett: HR Manager, Bretford Manufacturing
Aracelie Aguilar: HR Director, Ex-Cell Kaiser
Keith Bowman: Chair, Mechanical, Materials, & Aerospace Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology
Diana Peters: Symbol Training Institute
Dr. Laz Lopez: Principal, Wheeling High School
Ray Prendergast: Head of Advanced Manufacturing Program, Daley College
As a member of the New Democrat Coalition, Quigley is committed to supporting our nation's manufacturers with policies that foster growth, innovation and entrepreneurship. He believes an education emphasizing science, technology, math and engineering (STEM) will help students obtain manufacturing jobs and compete in a global economy.
A member of the House Small Business Committee, Schneider has taken a leadership role in supporting American manufacturing. Recognizing the key role education plays in the success of our manufacturing sector, he introduced the AMERICA Works Act to bring educators and businesses together to bridge the skills gap that exists today.