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Manufacturing Education in Demand by Students and Employers

The Industrial Technology and Management (INTM) program at Illinois Tech is preparing students for manufacturing careers that combine technical training with creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.  Attendance at the Student Summit at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago last month is validation of the sector’s fast-growing and changing capabilities, and need for employees with increasingly complex sets of skills. Schools are jumping on the manufacturing bandwagon with career prep programs starting in middle school, and alternative high schools cropping up in the Chicago area, and all around the country.

This year INTM and Armour College of Engineering represented Illinois Tech along with 13 other universities, community colleges, and manufacturing-related training programs at the IMTS Smartforce Student Summit.  IMTS statistics show that a record number of more than 17,000 students, parents and educators from 39 states visited the Show in 2016.  The Summit included a Career Fair, and nine challenges designed for students to discover and use technologies utilized in advanced manufacturing, including CAD/CAM software, robotics, 3D printing, machining, tooling, metrology, automation and welding.

The sponsors of the Student Summit, AMT (Association for Manufacturing Technology) praised Chicago City Colleges and several other local community colleges for their investments in CNC Machining and Mechatronics Programs to prepare students for manufacturing careers.  The exhibitors all provided a comprehensive understanding of as many manufacturing processes as possible.  The goal was to help define career opportunities available in manufacturing, and explain the pathways to get to those careers with post-secondary education.

INTM faculty and staff spoke with many high school and community college student attendees interested in learning about education and career options, as well as representatives of companies of all sizes seeking resources to find employees trained for positions from skilled Technologists to Senior Managers and Engineers. 

The boost that manufacturing received from IMTS carries over into October which has been designated nationally as Manufacturing Month, with Manufacturing Day, October 6.   INTM will be participating in two local events; a career fair at Joliet Junior College, sponsored by the Three Rivers Education Partnership on October 4, and a student event at Harper College on October 6 to showcase the Manufacturing Technology program and state-of-the-art Manufacturing Lab.