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updated: 6/25/2013 1:56 PM

Chucking Machine Products Hosts Manufacturing Roundtable

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  • Chucking Machine Products President Tim Merrigan discusses manufacturing issues with Congressmen Brad Schneider (L) and Mike Quigley as Illinois Alliance of Manufacturing President Pam McDonough looks on.

    Chucking Machine Products President Tim Merrigan discusses manufacturing issues with Congressmen Brad Schneider (L) and Mike Quigley as Illinois Alliance of Manufacturing President Pam McDonough looks on.
    Mike Dexter

Scott McPherson

TMA Member Chucking Machine Products hosts Roundtable Discussion with Congressmen and local Education, and Manufacturing Leaders.

Park Ridge-Tooling & Manufacturing Association of Illinois member Chucking Machine Products last week hosted a roundtable discussion featuring U.S. Congressmen Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Brad Schneider (IL-10), along with local manufacturing and education leaders to discuss the critical role science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education plays in the growth of manufacturing.

"We are very pleased that we were able to host this important discussion at our facility in Franklin Park, "stated Chucking Machine Products President Tim Merrigan. "I am grateful to the two Congressman and the others who attended for continuing to make manufacturing a priority." TMA Chairman Zach Mottl added, "As we look for the next generation of skilled workers it is important to focus on character development as well as training. Employers are seeking people with the attitude that 'it's not just a job, it's a career' and who are willing to grow with our companies and share in our successes as manufacturing continues to rebound."

After meeting with local businesses and manufacturers, hearing their concerns about the lack of skilled workers to fill open positions, Congressman Schneider introduced the AMERICA Works Act. This bipartisan legislation aims to close this skills gap by tying the needs of American industries to the curricula of our colleges and job-training centers, so that students and workers are prepared to perform the jobs that are needed today.

"If we want to grow manufacturing, we need to better equip our students and workforce with the skills sets manufacturers are looking for," Schneider said. "Bringing our educators and manufacturers together, like we did today, is essential in closing the skills gap."

An estimated 600,000 manufacturing jobs are currently left unfilled because employers are unable to find workers with the necessary skill sets. Manufacturing is a critical component of Illinois's economy-accounting for 10 percent of jobs.

"Manufacturing offers some of the best paying jobs in our country and a clear pathway into the middle-class," said Quigley. "But students need the right education to take advantage of these positions. The insight provided by today's business leaders and educators is invaluable to developing the high-skilled workforce necessary to keep American manufacturing globally competitive."

Those attending last Friday's Roundtable Included:

Zach Mottl: Chairman, Tooling & Manufacturing Association (TMA) & Chief Alignment Officer, Atlas Tool & Die Works)

Pam McDonough: President, Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing

Tim Merrigan: President, Chucking Machine Products

Curtis Snyder: Senior Management Business Development, Numerical Precision

John McGivern: General Manager, Strange Engineering, Inc.

Amy Schuett: HR Manager, Bretford Manufacturing

Aracelie Aguilar: HR Director, Ex-Cell Kaiser

Keith Bowman: Chair, Mechanical, Materials, & Aerospace Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology

Diana Peters: Symbol Training Institute

Dr. Laz Lopez: Principal, Wheeling High School

Ray Prendergast: Head of Advanced Manufacturing Program, Daley College

TMA also supports ongoing efforts in Congress by Rep. Dan Lipinski. Lipinski recently introduced HR 2477, co-sponsored by fellow Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, which takes a new approach, building on the Administration's successful development of the 2012 National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing by directing the National Science and Technology Council to develop a national manufacturing competitiveness strategic plan, with consultation with nongovernmental stakeholders.

About TMA: 8 small manufacturing companies who thought they could better themselves by associating with one another founded TMA in 1925. Through the years, members established programs and services that would help their businesses grow and prosper, train their employees, and provide medical and retirement benefits. As a result of these efforts, TMA has grown into a 1,000 member not-for-profit organization representing almost 30,000 employees of precision manufacturing and supplier companies throughout Illinois.