Last column, “Aurora chamber finding pathways to career opportunities,” I detailed the process the city of Aurora, Waubonsee Community College, School Districts 129, 131, 204 and 308 were pursuing with the Aurora Regional Chamber to generate career pathways for our area students as part of our workforce development efforts.
In addition to the Pathways to Prosperity initiative, the Chamber has a number of other initiatives in place to improve our region’s employment.
The Manufacturing Careers Internship Program (MCIP) is another. It is an industry-driven youth program that offers train-to-hire internships for out-of-school youth between 18 and 21 years of age an opportunity to learn about manufacturing careers. The program includes a three-week “Manufacturing Boot Camp” that includes tours of manufacturing facilities in the area, development of work acumen and work-readiness skills, mentoring and a 10-hour OSHA certification training.
Following the boot camp, participating employers will provide a six-week, 240-hour internship to the students. During the internship, Business Career Services, in partnership with the Kane County Department of Employment and Education (KCDEE) serves as the employer of record. As a result, they are responsible for employee wages, liability and insurance during the internship.
The employer has the opportunity to train the intern for specific job requirements in the company. Following the internship, the manufacturer has the option of hiring the intern. Through the collaboration, we work to create a pipeline of motivated, skilled employees who are ready to start work or gain additional training and certifications.
The program received the 2013 Innovation Solutions Award from the Illinois Workforce Partnership and was featured as a best practice by the National Association of Workforce Board Professionals.
Results of previous program sessions are impressive. For example, according BCS and Medusa Consulting Group, 70 percent of the interns are now employed in or pursuing additional education and training for manufacturing careers.
The Aurora Chamber is currently partnering with the BCS and Medusa to secure local manufacturers interested in partnering to provide tours, mentoring, and internships for the youth. For more information, employers may contact Sid Hussaini at (847) 809-8901.
In addition, youth between 18 and 21 who are interested in learning more about the program and manufacturing careers can contact Eddie Perez at (224) 358-1039 for more information.
We are excited by the number of workforce development initiatives we have at the Aurora Chamber. We believe that our focus here will benefit our employers as well as our community. Of course, as you can see from the Pathways to Prosperity and the MCIP, we are not alone in these efforts. We appreciate our partners for their commitment to the efforts. We look for forward to great successes and to sharing more of our workforce development programs with you.
If you have questions or would like more information on the Chamber or its programs, please feel free to contact the Aurora Chamber office at (630) 256-3180.