Policies brought forth to grow Illinois’ manufacturing workforce

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There’s a push in Springfield to deal with a statewide shortage of manufacturing workers.

“There are a lot of openings right now in the manufacturing area in Quincy and in the Tri-State area in general,” said Dave Hetzler, Interim Dean of Career & Technical Education.

Whether it be welding, electrical or computer aided design, it’s all skills needed in today’s growing manufacturing industry.

“They need more workers in general but they also have current workers who are reaching retirement age so they know that they’re going to need more employees to fill those retirements,” said Hetzler.

Mark Denzler, President and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association says manufacturing is critical to the Illinois economy.

“Illinois’ manufacturing sector employs 580,000 workers directly and contributes the single largest share of gross state product,” said Denzler.

That’s why Denzler says it’s of the upmost importance to address the increasing skills gap across the state now, rather than later.

“Engineering and manufacturing, you name it, just about anything you can imagine is built in the State of Illinois,” said Denzler.

Denzler says with the average Illniois factory worker making around $84,000 a year in wages and benefits, there should be no excuse why applicants aren’t applying.

“These are good, middle class jobs,” said Denzler.

One of those jobs, Quincy student Cole Reeder is hoping is hoping to land as soon as he’s done with training.

“I think it’s a very impressive thing to be able to place on a resume,” said Reeder. “These guys are good at what they do. They’re good at teaching and I think I’ve learned a lot.”

Here’s a link to local manufacturing jobs.

Below are the 2019 Legislative Priorities:

Grow Your Own STEM Teacher Act (SB 1930): Public colleges and universities will waive tuition and fees for students studying science, technology, engineering or math who agree to teach in Illinois at a public high school or university. An assessment of schools and universities found a lack of teachers is contributing to a lack of STEM education programs.

Support Apprenticeships (SB 216): Illinois manufacturers are helping develop their own workforce through apprenticeship programs.

The IMA is leading the state’s Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT), the leading apprenticeship program in the Midwest for high-tech manufacturers and companies with complex technologies or logistics.

This legislation will provide a small tax credit equal to qualified education expenses for apprentices.

Research & Development Credit (HB 3411/SB 1905): Research and development is the lifeblood of manufacturers that are constantly creating and improving products. However, Illinois’ research and development tax credit has turned on and off five times in the last two decades, creating uncertainty. Illinois needs to modernize and make permanent the research and development tax credit that is essential for the manufacturing sector.

Manufacturer’s Purchase Credit (HB 2300/SB 1390): The Manufacturer’s Purchase Credit was left to expire two years ago during the budget impasse. Most other states provide incentives for tangible property used or consumed in the manufacturing process and Illinois needs to renew this credit.

Small Business Regulatory Tax Relief (HB 3271/SB 1648): Many Illinois employers are required to pay 100 percent of their unemployment insurance taxes in the first quarter of the year, creating a cash flow concern for small employers. This legislation simply allows a small business to make payments quarterly if necessary.
Critical Infrastructure Protection (HB 1633/SB 1304): This legislation increases penalties for individuals who trespass and intentionally damage critical infrastructure facilities, including water treatment plants, electricity generating facilities and military bases. The legislation represents a partnership between business and organized labor and protects first amendment rights to organize, protest, and picket.

Kaylee Pfeiferling

Kaylee Pfeiferling

Multimedia Journalist

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