PLEASE NOTE: The INAM Consortium was funded by a $12.9 million grant from the Department of Labor and tasked with delivering certificate programs in Advanced Manufacturing that can be completed in one year or less and prepare participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations. While the INAM grant project has ended, these training programs remain vibrant at the individual Community Colleges. Please visit the colleges for ongoing program information.
For over a century, the United States has been a global leader in manufacturing. Our leadership role has historically pertained not only to the manufacture of product, but also to the development of key processes that made the very creation of those products possible. Such was the impact of manufacturing on society, that it was the primary driving force of our overall economy. The manufacturing sector employed tens of millions of hard-working, skilled professionals. With new products and technologies continually being introduced to the marketplace, and with regular disposable income from their stable work environments, people were introduced to a higher standard of living than they had ever known before.
Manufacturing has been, and continues to be, critical to our country’s economy. Over the last few decades, US manufacturing has faced many significant challenges, including increased global competition, an aging and retiring workforce, wage competition, and numerous other economic and political factors. In order to meet these challenges head-on, the US must continue, and in many cases increase, investment in advanced manufacturing technologies and forward-thinking business strategies. Development and utilization of advanced manufacturing techniques will be key to maintaining our global leadership in production. This will, in-turn, help us to grow our overall economy from within.
Illinois faces the challenge of access to a prepared workforce due to the shortage of educated and skilled workers. Surveys show that some 82% of manufacturers in the state say they can’t find workers with the right skills and educational background. The INAM consortia utilized a $12.9 million TAACCCT grant from the Department of Labor to enhance curriculum, purchase state-of-the-art equipment, increase collaboration, and to focus on partnerships and relationships with manufacturing businesses in their districts. These partnerships included; expanded paid internships, mentoring, equipment donations, new faculty development activities and stronger connections with their local WorkNet Centers and Workforce Investment Boards (WIBS). A key component of the project was alignment of college curricula with nationally recognized credentials. Students that completed these programs had stackable, portable certificates and degrees that led to highly paid jobs within advanced manufacturing.
Manufacturers in the State of Illinois face a major challenge in the shortage of qualified, educated and skilled workers. Surveys have shown that 83% of manufacturers can’t find workers with the necessary skills or appropriate educational background. (Source)
INAM (Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing) had plans in place to directly address this problem. The group, made up of key figures in the manufacturing, education, and political arenas, utilized its $12.9 million TAACCCT Grant from the Department of Labor to make a number of significant improvements for the benefit of the manufacturing sector in the State. A key component of the program was the alignment of State college curricula with nationally-recognized standards. Improvements within education included: purchase of new and state-of-the-art equipment, increased collaboration, and a greater focus on building partnerships with local businesses. These partnerships resulted in direct experience through paid internships and student apprenticeships. Students who completed the program were well-positioned for success, with strong degrees and extensive experience, which led to highly-paid jobs within advanced manufacturing.