Among the group of advisors is Rory O’Hern, class of 2004, whose career was jump-started by the pre-engineering classes at ETHS. Submitted photo

Recognizing the need to prepare students for college and careers in the digital age, the Evanston Township High School Educational Foundation has committed itself to raising funds this year for a new Advanced Manufacturing Lab. With the current resurgence in manufacturing, ETHS is seizing the opportunity to transform its antiquated “machine shop” into a work space that replicates a 21st-century industrial environment. Along with a new learning environment, additional opportunities to earn advanced certifications will provide students with hands-on design experience and a competitive edge for work or degree programs after graduation.

 “Advanced manufacturing is having a renaissance,” states Shelley Gates, Career/Technical Education Department chair at ETHS, “More overseas jobs are being brought back to the U.S.”

With more than 18 percent of global output coming from the United States, manufacturing provides high-paying jobs that strengthen the middle class. In addition, the current innovative trend in manufacturing utilizes robotics, computer-integrated processes, 3-D printing and other high-tech applications that require a highly skilled labor force.

The ETHS Educational Foundation has undertaken a campaign to raise the necessary funds to renovate the existing space to meet or exceed industry standards with the latest technologies.

Before embarking on the renovation, an advisory committee of local industry representatives has joined forces to provide expertise and advice on the best curriculum, work-based learning experiences and equipment needed in the lab.

With the new Advanced Manufacturing Lab, more ETHS students like Rory O’Hern will gain valuable skills and be positioned for one of multiple pathways to success in the global workforce. Anyone wishing more information about the efforts of the ETHSEF may call Fran Caan at 847-424-7157 or Joanne Bertsche at 847-424-7158.