City and state officials gathered today in Evanston’s West End to promote manufacturing businesses in the area and encourage local students to consider careers in the field. 

An IRMCO worker at the company’s Greenleaf Street manufacturing facility. 

City and state officials gathered today in Evanston’s West End to promote manufacturing businesses in the area and encourage local students to consider careers in the field. 

As part of the second annual Manufacturing Day, over 90 eighth graders were invited to tour manufacturing facilities in the industrial area. Evanston Township High School students lead the tours while sharing their own experiences in manufacturing-focused youth training programs. 

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, State Sen. Daniel Biss and State Rep. Robyn Gabel also participated in the day’s events, which began at IRMCO, a manufacturer of industrial lubricants located at 2117 Greenleaf St.

State Sen. Daniel Biss, Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, State Rep. Robyn Gabel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle stand on Greenleaf Street, located in the heart of the city’s industrial West End.

Standing outside the IRMCO facility, Preckwinkle said that while many people believe China to be the world’s manufacturing giant, the U.S. is actually the largest manufacturer of goods. 

And although many manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas during the last several decades, Preckwinkle said there is a “great demand for advanced manufacturing” labor in the U.S. 

Sugar & Spice Extraordinary Sweet Treats owner Jean Kroll speaks with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other city and state officials about the company’s baking facility located on Greenleaf Street.

This kind of industry is an “important part of the economy we need to work hard to support,” Preckwinkle said.

“When we manufacture overseas we are exporting not just jobs but know how and technology,” she said, adding that doing so gives the nation’s global competitors an advantage.

Sugar & Spice Extraordinary Sweet Treats bakers Elias Saenz and Jesus Alcarac work at the company’s Greenleaf Street facility. 

On a local level, Tisdahl said the city is working hard to inform 18 to 25 year olds about the job opportunities available in this field.

Biss said there are “an extraordinary number” of high quality manufacturing positions that have remained unfilled in the state of Illinois. Helping young people achieve the training they need to get such a job would “be an opportunity for tremendous economic growth for the state,” said Gabel.

Tisdahl said she hopes today’s event encourages students to pursue these jobs in Evanston and beyond.

And on the first day of a historical federal government shutdown,  Tisdalh said she’d also like the students “to know not all governments are shutdown.”

“Officials are all here working to make sure jobs stay in Evanston,” she said.

Other companies who participated in Manufacturing Day include artisan coffee maker Coffee Speed Shop, 2000 Greenleaf St., bar supplies distributor Collins Brothers, 2113 Greenleaf St., manufacturer of brushless alternators C.E. Niehoff, 2012 Lee St., optical component maker Sterling Precision, 1926 Greenleaf St., baked goods producer Sugar & Spice Extraordinary Sweet Treats, 829 Foster St., printer Allegra Marketing, 1255 Hartrey Ave., laminating machine maker Thermal Laminating Corporation, 2220 Greenleaf St., and metal stamping plant Ward Manufacturing, 2230 Main St.. 

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  1. Evanston Manufacturing [other] and NU

    The Wall Street Journal December 13, 2016 has an article about how Auburn Univ. and other universities have become involved in their cities to bring employment where jobs have disappeared—in particular manufacturing.

    Evanston appears to have a 'stated' unemployment rate [until the next crisis] that is low but I'm sure many seeking employment don't see it that way.

    But Evamston has lost [pushed out?] many manufacturing jobs over the last 20+ years. Even stores that sell goods to the public [clothes, electronics, appliances, etc.] have left and even services and tech jobs have left because of rents and other things.

    I've not seen [I've asked] how many Evanston residents work in Evanston as compared to commuting to Chicago—I imagine it is not good.  How many NU grads stay [live] in Evanston and how many work in Evanston—probably again a disappointment ? A partnership with NU to create jobs across the board would certainly help the city. It is amazing with NU here, so many consulting studies are farmed-out to non-Evanston companies; how offen do the schools and government look to NU first and try to use NU faculty/students [hopefully to keep the students living and working in Evanston]. Lip service is paid to NU but I suspect in reality a small portion of possibilities go to NU. As the saying goes, "a mind is a terrible thing to waste"—we seem to be wasting minds and bodies.


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