“Manufacturing Connect” Driving Mentorships For STEM Students In The Austin Community

Picture Individuals, left to right: Back: Mentee Diamond -Sophmore with UIC Engineering Mentor Lorena;UIC NSBE Mentor Beni next to Mentee Antolin and Beni’s Mentee Christian (both Sophomores); Mentee Shallom with NSBE President and Mentor Matt. Front UIC-SWE Engineering Student Jen with Mentee Kenyanna; UIC Education Mentor Nira with Mentee Amber.

Picture Individuals, left to right: Back: Mentee Diamond -Sophmore with UIC Engineering Mentor Lorena;UIC NSBE Mentor Beni next to Mentee Antolin and Beni’s Mentee Christian (both Sophomores); Mentee Shallom with NSBE President and Mentor Matt. Front UIC-SWE Engineering Student Jen with Mentee Kenyanna; UIC Education Mentor Nira with Mentee Amber.

Manufacturing Connect is a nationally recognized initiative of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council (MRC).   The program’s main goal is to prepare students for a successful STEM college experience and career success through NIMS (National Institute of Metalworking Skills) certification in manufacturing. The program serves students at the Austin Multiplex, 231 N. Pine, on Chicago’s west side.

Manufacturing Connect represents a partnership between Chicago Public Schools, local manufacturers, the Chicago Teachers’ Union, and the Austin community. Manufacturing Connect is recognized as promising practice for career pathway education and training linked to in-demand careers in advanced manufacturing, engineering, and related fields.

Since 2007, Manufacturing Connect has prepared high school students for the workforce and college. In 2014, through a grant from the Department of Labor, the mentoring program was added.

This program model is a site-based STEM-Business Mentoring Program, providing 1-on-1 meetings with students and caring adult mentors who meet once or twice a month for an hour, over the period of a year. Mentors transparently share their life experiences as a means of helping students navigate the world and plan their future. A partnership with Junior Achievement provides for soft skills sessions, establishing several trainings to empower our youth who have been fortunate to secure mentoring partnerships with UIC’s  National Society of Black Engineers, the UIC- Caterpillar Aurora (Engineering/ focused Site-based Program at Caterpillar), Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Business Focus Site-based Program at the Federal Reserve) and Austin Multiplex (a variety of Community members mentor at Austin Multiplex).

Manufacturing Connect is grateful for the many opportunities with the families, students, schools and businesses in the Austin community and around Chicago. Together, we are empowering Chicago’s youth and, in turn, working towards the greatness of our world around us. Our desire is to provide over 100 Manufacturing Connect Students with a wonderful caring mentor.

To learn more about becoming a mentor at Manufacturing Connect, feel free to contact Leslye Long, Assistant Director and Mentoring Coordinator, at llong@mfgren.org or 773-534-6326 .

By Leslye Long
llong@mfgren.org