Gonzalez Pitches Chicago Heights’ Manufacturing Future to Students
Mayor says manufacturing is a priority for Chicago Heights because it is the economic engine that will propel growth and economic stability in the city. The average hourly manufacturing wage in Illinois is $30.92, according to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
By David Ormsby
(Chicago Heights, IL) – While some communities may be moving away from manufacturing as an economic development strategy, Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez is championing “modern” industrial development for his south suburban city.
At Bloom High School’s recent “Manufacturing Day” event, Gonzalez, the keynote speaker, launched a full-throated defense and embrace of manufacturing as a viable career option for the area’s graduating high school students.
“Manufacturing Day recognizes the vast changes that have taken place in modern manufacturing and the new opportunities those changes create for a career in the manufacturing field,” Gonzalez told the school’s student body on October 3. “Students are being welcomed by manufacturers all over the country today to understand the opportunities that exist in manufacturing.”
The average hourly manufacturing wage in Illinois is $30.92, according to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
Gonzalez reminded the students manufacturing touches their lives “daily.”
“Manufacturing has an impact on our lives in ways we don’t even think about on a daily basis,” said Gonzalez. “The clothes you are wearing and the chairs you are sitting on were created by a manufacturing process.”
The two-term mayor also gave the school’s approximately 3,480 students a local history lesson.
“Chicago Heights is a city whose roots grew from industrial development,” Gonzalez explained. “We were a hub for industry, and plants manufactured everything from iron and steel to glass and construction materials. People settled in Chicago Heights to be close to the factories and the jobs manufacturing created.”
Gonzalez, first elected in 2011, also shared with the students that Chicago Heights’ manufacturing history was also a history of his own family.
“My father was a machine operator for CertainTeed, a factory that produced roofing shingles, and he operated a machine that created shingles and those shingles covered the roofs on many homes and businesses in Chicago Heights,” Gonzalez said. “My mother worked at the Owens Illinois Glass Company, a factory that made milk bottles and other glassware products that were sold throughout the country.”
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