Some advocates of manufacturing believe that by taking the “high road” towards workforce development, firms will take a major step forward in the strengthening of the industry. Starting this Fall, the Center for Urban Economic Development (CUED) will be working with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) to evaluate a program that will put this theory into practice. The IMEC program is looking to incorporate about eighty firms from the Chicagoland region. CUED will receive a $398,000 grant from the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance (CWFA), under their Regional Manufacturing Initiative, for the evaluation of this initiative.
CUED will track changes and conduct an evaluation to analyze the effectiveness of this effort. The evaluation will include both qualitative and quantitative methods, including data from the employers and employees involved in the program, site visits, case studies and interviews. Interviews of the participants will track the change in workforce conditions and industries’ success.
The two year evaluation is aimed at determining that the “high road” is feasible and beneficial for manufacturing in the Chicago area through a dedication to providing workers access to training and good jobs, and in turn, increasing innovation by firms.