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Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing Launches Website

The Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing (INAM) has launched its new website to connect training programs, prospective workers and the business community and address the manufacturing skills gap.

The website will serve as a resource for students, faculty and industry professionals preparing to enter, or reenter, the manufacturing field through advanced training and education.

Funded through a U.S. Department of Labor grant, INAM comprises 21 community colleges throughout Illinois offering certificates and degrees in six advanced manufacturing fields. The consortium increases opportunities for students to enter high-paying careers in advanced manufacturing, while also providing Illinois manufacturers with a pipeline of quality, trained professions to fill open jobs in a wide variety of growing businesses.

“We are very happy to have the site up and running,” said Dr. Rebecca Lake, INAM’s Interim Dean of Workforce and Economic Development. “It will benefit not only those interested in entering the manufacturing field, but also the colleges that provide the training, the industry that will gain a quality workforce and the state, which will experience economic growth.”

INAM’s programs, all of which are two years or less, lead to careers in fields including certified production technician (CPT), mechatronics and robotics, industrial maintenance, metal working/welding, precision machining (CNC), and green technologies. Harper College is administering the grant, which is being used to enhance and align curriculum with nationally recognized credentials, purchase state-of-the-art equipment, increase collaboration and partner with manufacturers.

“To solve the skills shortage, it is critical that higher education engage in an ongoing dialog with businesses and manufacturers,” Harper College President Dr. Ken Ender said. “The fast-track curriculum will provide manufacturers with the workers they need in order to grow and thrive in a global economy.”

About INAM

Economic and demographic trends have produced a shortage of skilled educated technicians that threatens sustained manufacturing sector growth. Companies of all types are struggling to find people to hire that have the right advanced manufacturing skills. Community colleges in Illinois have come together as the Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing (INAM) in response to the “manufacturing skills gap” crisis. A grant from Department of Labor (DOL) specifically for community colleges known as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant was awarded to 21 Illinois community colleges. This grant gave $12.9 million to the Illinois Network of Advanced Manufacturing (INAM) consortium. Harper College is the fiscal agent for this DOL grant.

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