OAI / Rich Township District 227

Leadership Community

The OAI/Rich Township partnership was formed to address the labor-market needs of manufacturing companies in the Chicago Southland and outline a plan for increasing postsecondary attainment. A key strategy of the plan is prioritizing the advanced manufacturing industry cluster for the development of career pathways systems, especially targeting youth and young adults. The partnership has been working alongside the Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership, a network of over 30 metal, machinery, and equipment manufacturing businesses in the region.

The partnership was launched in November 2017 with the support of the Calumet Area Industrial Commission, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Chicago Federation of Labor Workforce and Community Initiative, Chicago Metro Metal Consortium, Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, and OAI, Inc. The meeting launched a ‘next generation’ manufacturing sector partnership to tackle the shared competitiveness needs facing manufacturers in the region. Overall the partnership is focused on developing a skilled and enthusiastic workforce that will keep Calumet businesses, industry, and the region competitive in the global marketplace through increasing awareness about manufacturing and by aligning training and curriculum with industry needs.

Lead Intermediary Organization

Areas of Expertise

  • Collaboration and relationship building for collective impact
  • Employer engagement through several sector partnerships
  • Convening of the region’s High Schools’ Robotics Olympic Competition
  • Convening of community stakeholders to the same table to collaboratively address issues and develop solutions.

Prioritized Focus Areas

Our partnership addresses the endorsement area of METT (Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology, and Trades).

  • Manufacturing
  • STEM (particularly Engineering and Technology Pathway)
  • Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

Key Successes

  • Facilitated pre-apprenticeship programming that led to attainment of stackable credentials in the manufacturing sector.
  • Collaboratively developed a set of skills that students need to know.
  • Secured funding for Chicago Southland Apprenticeship Program geared toward designing US Department of Labor recognized Apprenticeship program to further the success of the pre-apprenticeship career pathway programs in manufacturing and TDL.
  • Increased number of high schools participating in the Robotics Olympics competition.
  • Increased number of opportunity youth offered career pathways programing in the MakerLab.
  • Developed a set of skills that manufacturing employers need students to possess at entry.
  • Developed a healthcare career pathway for opportunity youth.
  • Developed a manufacturing career pathway for opportunity youth.

2-Year Goals

  • Develop new relationships with two high schools in the region as host sites for dual-credit and endorsement.
  • Extend programing to Middle School with career exploration day activities.

Community Updates

Manufacturing Day

conomic Development Corporation (CSEDC) successfully hosted their annual Manufacturing Day virtual sessions with businesses and high schools from across the Chicago Southland.