Cook County manufacturers create more than 10,500 new or replacement jobs annually -- jobs generally offering good wages and benefits. But Cook County's education and training system does not provide adequate numbers of skilled people to fill those jobs, even though large numbers of area residents, particularly youth and those living in our poorer communities, are eager for opportunities for work.
All told, there are some 404,000 manufacturing jobs in Cook County. All of them are being put at risk by our failure to ensure that regional manufacturers can count on finding workers with the right skills to fill job openings. How we close this and other gaps in our workforce education and training system will determine whether or not we will retain, sustain and develop the tremendous power of our manufacturing sector. Cook County faces a crisis in training and education for our manufacturing economy. We have important decisions to make.