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Scholarship Supports Chicago Manufacturing Initiative

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FILED IN:  Workforce Development
     
At TAC 2013, Summit Media Group presented a check to a Chicago high school program looking to put a fire in the belly of students to pursue manufacturing-related jobs.

Across the country, parents, business owners, educators and civic leaders are increasingly focusing on the need to educate a workforce that can excel in manufacturing jobs and careers. Towards that end, Summit Media Group announced that this year’s David A. Harvey Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to Chicago’s Austin Polytechnical Academy Advanced Manufacturing Career Program (www.austinpolytech.org).

The David A. Harvey Scholarship is underwritten by Summit’s Automation World magazine and the sponsors of its annual event, The Automation Conference (www.theautomationconference.com). Austin Polytechnical Academy (APA) is a college and career prep public high school with a focus on manufacturing and engineering. APA prepares students for a variety of manufacturing jobs, from skilled production and engineering to management and company ownership. Graduates go on to work in industry or to pursue advanced degrees in related fields.

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Erica Swinney, career and community program director for the academy accepted the scholarship on behalf of the students. "We not only train kids and find them jobs. We also get them excited about manufacturing. We put a fire in their belly, and mentor kids on how to talk to manufacturers."

Swinney is with Manufacturing Renaissance. Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council (CMRC), a partner in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s advanced manufacturing educational initiative, founded the APA in 2007. CMRC’s managing partner, Manufacturing Renaissance, operates the Austin Polytech Career Program. CLCR works with over 60 local manufacturing partners to provide internships, mentoring, NIMS certifications, career job placements and other academic and career support services.

Swinney was joined by Bill Vogel, Austin Polytech's industrial coordinator. He works with local and regional manufacturers to get them into the program. About 60 such partners currently participate. "They provide field trip destinations for the kids, as well as paid internships and more," he said.

Last year’s award was donated to Purdue Calumet University. The two students who shared the 2012 award are David Ramos and Ryan Richardson—both students in the mechatronics engineering technology program.

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