Manufacturing in the United States is at a major inflection point. Automation, customization, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things are transforming work in the sector as part of the “fourth industrial revolution.” Alongside the aging of the manufacturing workforce, it’s estimated that between 2015 and 2025, approximately two million manufacturing jobs will go unfulfilled because of recruitment and skill-building challenges.
This historical moment has major relevance for communities of color and other communities who have long counted on manufacturing jobs as a source of middle-class income. After decades of economic trends that have shaken the faith of people in manufacturing careers, companies and communities now have the chance to create a more diverse—and ultimately more inclusive—future. But without thoughtful community-led interventions, the opportunity could be lost.
That’s where the Industry & Inclusion National Cohort comes in. To help successful models thrive and spread, the cohort will connect leading workforce development programs across the country through rigorous, guided engagement and support from experts in the field.
The Cohort includes: JARC (Chicago/Baltimore), LIFT (Detroit), MAGNET (Cleveland), Manufacturing Renaissance (Chicago), Menomonee Valley Partners (Milwaukee), MxD (Chicago), Northland Workforce Training Center (Buffalo), and WRTP (Milwaukee).
TCF and UMA staff will work to ensure that selected practitioners come out more informed, and stronger programmatically, because of their participation in this cohort, which is financially supported by the Lumina Foundation. We are students of and advocates for your work, and our staff will be actively learning from and engaging alongside you as we grow this area of economic and community development together.
For more background on the project’s history, read “Revitalizing Manufacturing and Expanding Opportunities for Chicago’s Black and Latino Communities” or watch “Building A High Wage America.”