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Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center Host Manufacturing Workforce Solutions Summit in Elgin

June 12, 2024

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center Host Manufacturing Workforce Solutions Summit in Elgin

Business leaders, municipal officials and educators meet to discuss strategies for building talent pipelines, solving workforce challenges

SPRINGFIELD– The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) Education Foundation and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) today will host the third annual Moving Makers Forward: Manufacturing Workforce Solutions Summit, which brings industry experts, municipal leaders and educators together to discuss strategies to address workforce development challenges faced by manufacturers across the state.

The summit will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Elgin Community College, with a keynote address to be delivered by John Morehouse, Research Leader of Industrial Products & Construction at the Deloitte Research Center for Energy & Industrials. Morehouse will discuss findings of recent study in conjunction with The Manufacturing Institute that analyzed labor supply and demand data to explore the impact of unfilled jobs on the nation’s economy, as well as growth trends in manufacturing jobs. Additional panels and discussions will focus on strategies to attract and retain talent, tactics to support working families facing childcare challenges, opportunities to harness state and federal funding and strengthen workforce partnerships, approaches to providing meaningful work-based learning opportunities for students, and ways to support and integrate immigrants and refugees into the workforce.

“This forum is a unique opportunity to share knowledge about the latest trends and best practices for building and managing talent pipelines,” said Sarah Hartwick, Vice President of Education & Workforce Policy and head of the IMA’s Education Foundation. “Maintaining a qualified workforce is one of the most difficult challenges facing manufacturers, and we hope they leave with new ideas and insights to overcome barriers and increase investments in their communities.”

“Empowering Illinois’ manufacturing sector to thrive requires proactive development of new solutions that attract skilled workers,” emphasized David Boulay, Ph.D., President of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center. “The Workforce Solutions Summit is a real-time example of how Illinois manufacturers can come together to share best practices, learn from manufacturing experts, and leave the day with solutions that can drive positive workforce results.”

During the summit, the recipients of the third annual Lynne Mohr scholarship will also be recognized. Named in honor of former Brite-O-Matic Manufacturing, Inc. President Lynne Mohr, who died in 2020 following complications from liver cancer, the Lynne Mohr Endowment for trade scholarships is administered by the IMA Education Foundation, which funds post-secondary education for Illinois students pursuing the trades that Mohr respected and supported as part of her legacy. This year’s winners are Diana Heredia (College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn), Marisol Sanchez (Northern Illinois University, DeKalb), and Juan Torres (Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield).

Nationally, there are 625,000 open jobs in the manufacturing industry, including tens of thousands of available jobs in Illinois. The IMA Education Foundation is dedicated to working with employers, educators, and lawmakers to enact policies to address the number one issue facing manufacturers – how to  attract and retain a skilled workforce. These efforts are vital to ensuring Illinois can continue to experience strong economic growth in the coming decade, as more baby boomers are expected to exit the job market and companies will seek to fill the resulting knowledge and experience gaps.

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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