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“Makers on the Move” Statewide Bus Tour Makes Final Stop at Illinois Capitol Building in Celebration of Manufacturing Month

By October 14, 2022November 9th, 2022No Comments

October 14, 2022

“Makers on the Move” Statewide Bus Tour Makes Final Stop at Illinois Capitol Building in Celebration of Manufacturing Month

Tour logged 2,100 miles visiting manufacturing facilities, colleges and high schools across Illinois to highlight exciting job opportunities in the diverse, innovative industry 

SPRINGFIELD – The “Makers on the Move” Statewide Bus Tour made its final stop Friday at the Illinois Capitol Building, bringing together industry advocates, educators, economic development organizations and public officials to celebrate Manufacturing Month, which honors manufacturing employees and highlights exciting job opportunities and career pathways available in the industry.

Hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), the bus tour began a week ago at the College of Lake County’s new Advanced Technology Center, before traveling more than 2,100 miles across the state to raise awareness and excitement about the state’s dynamic manufacturing sector. Sponsored by Comcast Business, Novelis and Walmart, the “Makers on the Move” tour featured a fully-wrapped 56-foot bus that made 20 stops at manufacturing facilities, colleges and high schools throughout Illinois. Details about each stop, as well as photos, are available at

“It’s been an exciting week on the road, where we sampled Eli’s Cheesecake and Beer Nuts, toured a massive Walmart Distribution Center that ships 6 million cases to 170 stores each week, visited Ingersoll Machine Tools, which holds two entries in the Guinness Book of World Records for their ground breaking products, and stopped by Macon Resources that employs developmentally disabled workers who have made 150 million Illinois license plates over the last 40 years. And that barely scratches the surface of the great work our manufacturers do every day,” said Mark Denzler, President & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “Manufacturing is diverse, sustainable and innovative, with artificial intelligence, robotics, 5G and virtual reality transforming the industry and our world. There’s no better time to explore a career in manufacturing, and manufacturers are ready to train and hire a new generation of leaders who will move our state and nation forward.”

A recent study found the total economic impact of manufacturing in Illinois is estimated to be between $580 billion and $611 billion every year – the largest share of any industry to the state’s Gross Domestic Product. Manufacturing directly employs 662,298 workers but ultimately supports as many as 1,771,928 jobs, generating up to $150 billion in labor income for Illinois residents annually. In all, it’s estimated that the manufacturing industry supports nearly 30 percent of all jobs in Illinois, making it among the state’s largest industry sectors.

“Manufacturing is a key sector of our state’s economy, employing hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans in good-paying jobs,” said Congressman Rodney Davis. “I’m proud to join the IMA and IMEC today as we highlight the enormous positive impact manufacturers make in communities all across Illinois. As policymakers, we should always be looking for ways to help, not hinder, the manufacturing sector – because when manufacturers thrive, so do our communities.”

In Sangamon County, manufacturing generates $2.2 billion in economic input each year, supporting almost 6,500 jobs with an average salary of $62,500.

“Manufacturing is vital to our state and local economy, creating good paying jobs that support families and strengthen our communities,” said Mike Murphy, President and CEO of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. “While we pause to celebrate manufacturing this month, the industry deserves our appreciation and respect every day of the year. Manufacturing is our state’s past, present and future.”

As part of the study, economists examined the manufacturing industry’s evolution in the face of rapid technological development, with trends suggesting a shift toward a higher-skilled workforce. In the next six years, it’s estimated there will be a 21 percent increase in employment growth for process control programmers and a 10 percent increase in demand for industrial engineers. These in-demand occupations likely need a post-secondary credential or some college, underscoring the importance of working closely with education institutions, policy makers and manufacturers to provide specialized training, and the need to further expand workforce training across the state to better prepare Illinois residents to enter high-demand fields.

“Manufacturing Month is about the workers, and the manufacturing workforce is a major part of our competitive advantage here in Illinois. We traveled across the state as ‘Makers on the Move’ to celebrate the past, present and future of the manufacturing industry. And since our journey began, we have seen, touched, and even tasted the great things our state makes,” said David Boulay, PhD, President of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center. Illinois is a stronghold of manufacturing. Making things is in our history; it’s in our DNA. Our parents made things; our grandparents made things. On this tour, we met the future of Illinois makers, like the youth who excitedly signed their name onto the side of this bus. I look forward to seeing the positive impact we can make on the future of the industry. Illinois manufacturers will continue to rise to the challenge and lead the way.”

Among the successful recent workforce development efforts championed by the IMA is the creation of two new world-class manufacturing academies scheduled to open this fall, a new law that will require all high schools to offer career and technical education by 2025, the establishment of an apprenticeship tax credit for manufacturers that train employees, and a partnership with the Pritzker Administration to launch a new multi-million dollar ad campaign highlighting manufacturing jobs that will launch later this year.

“Manufacturers are often housed in unassuming buildings that disguise the impactful products being made inside. This tour highlighted the great work taking place in those buildings, while showcasing the variety of fun and interesting jobs available throughout our communities,” said Sarah Hartwick, Vice President of Education & Workforce Policy at the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and Executive Director of the IMA Education Foundation, which works with high schools and community colleges across the state to create pathways for students to begin acquiring specific skillsets necessary for careers in the manufacturing industry. “Manufacturing transforms lives, and there’s a manufacturing job available for you.”

About the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA)

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is the only statewide association dedicated exclusively to advocating, promoting and strengthening the manufacturing sector in Illinois. The IMA is the oldest and largest state manufacturing trade association in the United States, representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities. For more information, please visit

About the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC)

IMEC is a team of improvement specialists who are dedicated to changing lives and creating a positive impact on Illinois’ workforce and economy. With a mission to drive growth through enterprise excellence, they help organizations become more effective and efficient by identifying issues, developing and implementing solutions, and providing the necessary support that will allow them to excel in areas of leadership, strategy, customer engagement, operations, workforce, and measurement and results. In 2021, they assisted over 1,600 companies and help create or retain over 5,679 jobs, resulting in over $450M aggregate impact to the Illinois economy.  IMEC has seven offices statewide and 48 full-time industry improvement specialists. For more information, visit

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