Mayor Emanuel Announces $1.25 Million Investment in Austin Manufacturing Education

At Austin Polytechnical Academy on Chicago’s West Side, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city will invest $1.25 million in advanced manufacturing education programs led by the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council and its managing partner, the Center for Labor & Community Research (CLCR).

“We need to invest in something other people recognize as one of a kind. We have it right here in the city of Chicago.” – Mayor Rahm Emanuel
The $1.25 million in funding is Chicago’s share of the $5.6 million in tax increment financing (TIF) funds returned by United Airlines. Mayor Emanuel has committed to use returned TIF funds to support the city’s key priorities and neighborhoods.

The investment will fund the following five programs

Austin Innovation Park
Austin Polytech Career Program
Austin Manufacturing Training Center
Outreach to inspire local elementary school students to pursue education and careers in advanced manufacturing-related fields
Bridge program to prepare local African-American males for advanced manufacturing training (in partnership with Austin Coming Together)

“Austin Polytechnical Academy has always been about training students to get good jobs so they can have productive, steady careers,” said Ali Muhammad, Austin Polytech’s principal. “This funding will allow Austin Polytechnical Academy to continue its evolution and adaptation to the modern economy, and we are pleased to be implementing one of the Mayor’s key goals.”

“This crucial funding will allow us to take a decisive step forward in establishing Chicago as a hub for advanced manufacturing and a national leader in this growing and crucial field,” said Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor and co-chair of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council. “I believe that by training our young workers and helping them into these apprenticeship programs, we will establish a base of leadership that will help Chicago move forward for years to come.”

Mr. Ramirez’s leadership was instrumental to securing the city’s investment — and the inclusion of advanced manufacturing as the number one strategy in World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, unveiled by Mayor Emanuel earlier this year.

“Becoming a leader in advanced manufacturing is an important strategy with real potential for impact,” said Michael Sacks, vice-chairman of World Business Chicago. “The implementation of these funds to train Chicago’s youth is a major step toward this goal, and underscores the value of a comprehensive plan to coordinate Chicago’s growth.”

“This is a wonderful program for the Austin neighborhood and the surrounding communities,” said Ald. Emma Mitts, 37th ward. “This is a great example of how we can develop partnerships between public and private institutions to provide opportunity for our young people to get world-class education and jobs.”