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Pritzker administration recognizes manufacturing month, 40th industry expansion announced this year

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Gov. JB Pritzker visited a manufacturing company in the Chicago suburbs Wednesday to celebrate Manufacturing Month. The administration says the Chicago Magnesium Casting Company had the state's 40th new manufacturing expansion this year.

Pritzker said dozens of manufacturers relocated to or expanded their companies in Illinois during 2021. The governor says the state's future depends on the collective investments for the next generation.

Chicago Magnesium received an EDGE grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to support capital investment and job creation. The administration says this can prepare people for continued growth in the advanced manufacturing sector and other related jobs.

Pritzker explained manufacturing is a critical driver in Illinois' economy, with more than $100 billion of economic output each year. But, the governor also noted that millions of manufacturing jobs need to be filled in the next few years.

"We have got to seize on every opportunity to build the Illinois that our residents deserve and that our companies need to thrive," Pritzker said.

"Invaluable" opportunities to succeed in the industry

Illinois currently has over 18,000 manufacturing companies. The administration created a business apprenticeship tax credit to encourage more investments in job training and workforce development. Their research and development tax credit also helps companies adapt to new technology and innovation.

Darkeeta Valenzuela went through the apprenticeship program 10 years ago. He now leads a team of 12 workers at CMCC due to that experience.

"This apprenticeship opportunity was invaluable and has helped me launch a career in a field where I can work with my hands," Valenzuela said. "And I have opportunities to continue learning about the evolving technologies."

Valenzuela later said more people should take a chance at working in manufacturing and witness the advancements in the industry. The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center and other industry leaders will hold 40 events this month to encourage people to join the workforce.

Creating new jobs and investing in communities

Two local lawmakers also said manufacturing companies help people get solid jobs and incentives to stay in their community.

"We're doing three things here. One, we're maintaining and keeping jobs here in the south suburbs. Two, they're going to be expanding and creating new jobs," said Rep. Bob Rita (D-Blue Island). "And three, there's opportunities for our young people through their apprenticeship program that give them a gateway into a good-paying job."

Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) later said he is pleased Pritzker continues to invest in Illinois companies to help them grow. He also acknowledged Darkeeta's success through the apprenticeship program.

"If we are willing to look into our communities here in the south suburbs, you will find a lot of young men and women like him who want the opportunity to become a part of something much bigger than themselves. It creates a pathway for them to grow, to continue to reside here in the south suburbs, to raise families," Davis said.

You can find information about workforce training, marketing, team building, and women in manufacturing by clicking here.

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Mike Miletich

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