Perspective from DeKalb-Ogle Workforce Development Consortium

IMTS Reaches the Imagination of Youth and Industry-By, Gene Fogle, Program Coordinator D.O.W.D.C.,

a division of DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation.


Whether you want to see cars picked up and repositioned for inspection, study rocketry, communicate with robots or see the latest in 5-axis numeric controlled machinery, the place to be is the International Manufacturing Technology Show at McCormick Place in Chicago. In fact, students from DeKalb and Rochelle High Schools made the trip on Tuesday, September 11, to see all of this and more. Coordinated by the DeKalb/Ogle Workforce Development Consortium the first trip of the year went well for two busloads of students and their chaperones.

Every other year, the IMTS comes to Chicago and fills McCormick Place. The world’s major equipment manufacturers represented, showing their equipment, and exchanging ideas. The secret is to match the “Doer’s with the Dreamer’s.”  Who dreamed that you could do 3-D printing with metal? Who dreamed that you could build equipment that works on five-axis? What is the “Industrial Internet of Things?”

To engage the youth who might be interested in manufacturing, an entire floor is dedicated to the “Student Smartforce Summit.”  Welcomed by Greg Jones, Vice President of Smartforce Development for the Association of Manufacturing Technology the students get birds-eye view of what they can see in the Smartforce level and what they can see on the main show floor. The Rippl3D Air Rocket Challenge allows students to design build and compete with air rockets. Create-A-Skate Learning Lab allows you to design and create a skateboard – digitally. All kinds of things to trigger your imagination and to act as a compass for your career-path.

A recent study from Deloitte reveals that by the year 2025 there will a need for 3 million people in manufacturing. Machine operators, programmers, equipment maintenance and an extensive list of other positions are available. The problem is that 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled, because there is not enough talent available to fill the void.

The show runs until September 15th, so if you want to feed your imagination head to McCormick Place or find a student who attended this fabulous show. Meanwhile make friends with a robot, it may be in your future.