Colleges train students for resurging manufacturing industry - FOX 10 News |

Tipping Point: Chicago students train for resurging manufacturing industry

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Manufacturing is not dead; it's just changing.

The City Colleges of Chicago are working to make sure their students have the new skills required.

"There are opportunities in manufacturing," says Daley College's Director of Manufacturing Technology, Raymond Prendergast. "Particularly with a lot of people retiring, in fact in the last two weeks we've talked with six companies about their hiring needs."

Students at Daley College combine hands-on skills with math related to the jobs they are working on. This is a part of the school's college-to-careers program.

"Typically, in one year, students completing two semesters should be job-ready," he says.

Certain sectors of the U.S. manufacturing economy are in resurgence. The workplace need is a welcomed feeling for students.

"I have an interview this afternoon. So the prospects are already opening up," manufacturing student Leon Ogurek tells FOX 32.

Rasheeda Shannon already has an Associate's Degree in Business Administration, but decided she wants to become a welder.

"I felt like manufacturing would give me a broader view as to me finding a job," she says. "I could work on the floor or I can also take my experience and work maybe, perhaps in marketing or sales."

Olive Harvey, another city college, broke ground on its new Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Center. The school projects roughly 100,000 new jobs could come to the region over the next decade.

Technology and big data companies are also hiring.

Purdue University is starting its new tech-oriented MBA program on Chicago's Near West Side, hoping to attract future high-tech entrepreneurs.

Enova International uses analytics or patterns in data to learn more about its customer's financials situations to determine their credit worthiness. Analytics has grown in past 5 years and Enova is on a hiring spree.

"It's increased pervasiveness, so analytics used to be kind of confined to the financial sector, but you're really seeing analytics in a variety of sectors now, including healthcare, education, nonprofits and manufacturing," explains Adam McElhinney with Enova International.

Linda Burtch is an executive recruiter who specializes in the quantitative business sciences.

"90 percent of all the information we have today was collected in the last 2 years," Burtch Works Managing Director Linda Burtch adds. "So, there's truly been an explosion of data. Mackenzie Consulting came out with a study in 2011 that predicts a shortage of between 140,000 and 190,000 deep analytics professionals by the year 2018."

Enova is one of the companies that is pursuing qualified candidates.

"Over the next 12 months we're hoping to grow our analytics team by anywhere from 25 to 50 percent. So there definitely is a lot of opportunity out there," says McElhinney.

Professionals in the analytics field traditionally have advanced degrees in statistics, mathematics, operations research, economics/econometrics, and more recently, in new predictive or business analytics programs. The success of these newer programs, however, is yet to be seen as their graduates are just coming into the workforce. There are also a fair number of individuals who come from other quantitative disciplines like physics or engineering. Another trend we're seeing is professionals leveraging "non-traditional" means to brush up or enhance their quantitative skills, such as, which offers free online classes, and, which provides a forum for real-world data analytics competitions.

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