On Oct. 1, more than 90 eighth-grade students from five District 65 middle schools helped kick off the second annual Manufacturing Day with a tour of local manufacturing companies in the City’s WestEnd District, Greenwood and Main Street.

The students were able to have a close-up look at the products and processes. Now  home to modern manufacturing, mid-size commercial businesses and technology companies, the WestEnd was once home to brickyards, steel mills and major railroads such as the Mayfair Cut-off.

Evanston Township High School students led the tours and shared their experiences in youth training programs with a focus on manufacturing. The City’s businesses hope to educate young people about this career field and the variety of jobs available right in Evanston,

Students from Chute Middle School, Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School, Haven Middle School and Nichols Middle School were split into groups and toured nine participating manufacturers. Jennifer Kalas, President of  IRMCO, wrote in the event booklet that “the WestEnd Business Association represents a mix of manufacturers, trades, services, technology and retail businesses.”

The businesses participating in the tours were IRMCO, Allegra Marketing Prints & Signs, Collins Brothers, Coffee Speed Shop, C.E. Niehoff & Company, Sterling Precision, Sugar and Spice Extraordinary Sweet Treats, Thermal Laminating Corporation and Ward Manufacturing.

The goal of Manufacturing Day is to expand knowledge about and improve general public perception of manufacturing careers and its value to the U.S. economy.  The student visitors, teachers and community members learned about real career opportunities, training and resources.