Career Development / Changing Workforce

Manufacturing Day gives Chicago Public Schools students hands-on experience

By Patrick Judge, for the Chicago Sun-Times

Oct 05, 2015

Some Chicago Public Schools students got to learn a few things outside the classroom last week, and their study materials were a lot bigger than a stack of textbooks.

One thing they studied was a hulking box called the NZ-2000. It’s made by DMG Mori, a Japanese company. It boasts a 12-axis turn/mill system, and it’s designed for complex, high-precision mass manufacturing. It’s used in medical, aerospace and military technologies. In layman’s terms, it’s a machine for making things.

About 50 CPS high school students enrolled in manufacturing classes got a good look at the NZ-2000 and other industrial machines at Manufacturing Day, a local event organized by World Business Chicago and UI Labs.

“The image of manufacturing . . . it’s dirty. You look at old photos, all you see is dirty faces,” said David Blackmon, a CPS employee. “It’s not that way anymore. It’s a thinking (person's) job.”

“I’ve got a lot of friends who want to work with engineering,” said Tavarius McNair, a 16-year-old student. Visiting the factory would "boost people’s motivations to work in this field. You can see that there’s more out there than just Microsoft.”

Read more about these students' experience with “the factory of the future”.