Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Summer jobs will help prepare high school students for advanced manufacturing careers.

Attention, Chicagoland manufacturers: Looking for an extra pair of hands over the busy summer months? Or perhaps you just want to do your part to prepare the next generation of Americans for advanced manufacturing careers?

Manufacturing Connect, the nationally recognized program that offers students hands-on vocational and jobs skill training at Austin Polytech High School in Chicago, is looking for businesses to host summer interns. These internships are designed to help students gain skills and insight into the manufacturing field, from production and engineering work to things like accounting, sales, marketing, and customer service.

Businesses who take part will provide a six-week, paid entry-level job to the intern. Shifts will be eight hours a day, and students will be required to follow stringent work rules. The program is scheduled to run from June 27 to Aug. 5.

Since its launch in 2007, Manufacturing Connect has worked with more than 80 manufacturers to provide nearly 250 paid and unpaid work experiences, earning students collectively more than $240,000. The program also offers students engineering and machining classes, mentoring and leadership opportunities, and even classes to help students obtain industry credentials. As of August 2015, students have gone on to obtain 38 full-time manufacturing jobs, earning up to $75,000 a year (plus benefits).

Manufacturing Connect has been widely cited as an example of how to bring vocational training back to high schools, and even earned praise from President Obama. I was fortunate to be among the AAM staff who had a chance to visit Austin Polytech in 2015, and let me tell you, I came away blown away by the amazing work being done there.

The students are getting real world, hands-on training for advanced manufacturing careers, right in the classroom. The enthusiasm they have for their education is palpable. These are young people who want to learn about manufacturing and are excited to go to school — one student shared with us how he gets up before dawn to ride a bus across the city to get to class on time.

Check out the videos below to learn more Manufacturing Connect and the impact it is having in Chicago. And if you are interested in hosting a summer intern, connect with DeeDee Jones at