As regions across the country grapple with what it will take to re-stabilize and rebuild their economies, the COVID-19 crisis continues to make clear that our health, jobs and livelihoods are inextricably linked. What will it take to rebuild? We can learn a lot from the experience of the 80+ regional partnerships that make up the national Next Generation Sector Partnership community of practice operating in 18 states around the country. “Next Gen” partnerships mobilize business leaders from a single industry sector in a shared regional economy to work with one another and with a coordinated team of public partners to strengthen their industry and their community. This session features three Next Gen Sector Partnerships, based in Chicago, El Paso and Northern Colorado. Each are examples of how activating local manufacturing business leaders to tackle shared challenges can have a dramatic impact on the overall resiliency of an industry and its community.
- Lindsey Woolsey, Co-Principal, Institute for Networked Communities/Next Gen Sector Partnerships Northern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership
- Sylvia Robinson, Communications & HR Program Manager, Tolmar and Board Chair, NoCO Manufacturing Partnership
- Heidi Hostetter, Vice President, Faustson Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership
- Nancy Wilson, CEO, Morrison Container Handling Solutions
- Kindy Kruller, Economic Development Program Manager, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development El Paso Manufacturing Sector Partnership
- Jackie Butler, U.S. Director, Bio El Paso-Juarez and Jose Gerardo, Founder and President of General Labels & Printing LLC
- Elizabeth Sobel Blum, Senior Community Development Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
- Matuschka Lindo Briggs, Director of Special Projects and Strategic Support, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis moderator
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Good afternoon and welcome to Connecting Communities. Today’s webinar is Mobilizing Public Private Partnerships to Rebuild Regional Economies. On slide two, I would now like to take the time to introduce our speakers for today, Lindsey Woolsey, co-principal at the Institute for Networked Communities Next Gen Sector Partnerships. With Northern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership, we have Sylvia Robinson, Communications and HR program manager at Tolmar and board Chair at NoCo Manufacturing Partnership, and Heidi Hostetter, Vice President, Fauston. With Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership, we have Nancy Wilson, CEO at Morrison Container Handling Solutions, and Kindy Kruller Economic Development Program Manager at Cook County Bureau of Economic Development. With El Paso Manufacturing Sector Partnership, we have Jackie Butler, US Director at BIO El Paso-Juarez, and Jose Gerardo, founder and president of General Labs & Printing LLC.
We also have Elizabeth Sobel Blum, Senior Community Development Advisor from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and I’m Matuschka Lindo Briggs, the Director of Special Projects and Strategic Support for the Community Development Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and I will serve as your moderator for today’s session. Let’s move to slide number three where we can take care of a few housekeeping items before we get started. So for the best webinar experience, we recommend you use the web stream to consume this live video event through your computer speakers. If you have technical issues, you are welcome to dial into the phone number posted on the player page, but the video will not sync perfectly with the phone audio. Also, this session will be recorded and the presentation will be available on our Connecting Communities website.
We will be taking audience questions during the event, and we’d love to hear from you. To submit a question, use the ask question button that you see right there on the left hand bottom of your screen located on the webinar player page, or you can email us at email@example.com.
As we move to slide four, I need to go over our legal notice and disclaimer since this is a Fed webinar, which is that the opinions and statements expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and are intended only for informational purposes. They do not reflect official positions of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
And finally, our mission on slide five, the mission of the Federal Reserve’s community development function is to promote economic growth and financial stability for low to moderate income individuals and communities. You can look at the map to see where your community development team is located. Our work is done through a range of activities from conducting research and identifying emerging issues, developing resources and sharing ideas, as well as fostering collaboration and building partnerships. I would now like to turn the presentation over to Elizabeth Sobel Blum from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Elizabeth, the floor is yours.
Elizabeth Sobel Blum
Thank you so much, Matuschka. Welcome to our webinar on mobilizing public private partnerships to rebuild regional economies. As regions across the country grapple with what it will take to restabilize and rebuild their economies, the pandemic continues to make clear that there is an inextricable link between our health, jobs, and livelihoods. Some regions may be better positioned than others to restabilize under these conditions. Across the country, there are over 80 regional next generation sector partnerships that are working to strengthen their industries and communities. Advising these partnerships is the Institute for Networked Communities, which developed to the next generation sector partnership model. Here with us today is Lindsey Woolsey, who is co-principal of the institute and Next Gen Sector Partnerships.
She and her team advise these partnerships and facilitate a national community of practice. What makes these partnerships distinct is their ability to mobilize business leaders from a single industry, a single sector, and a shared regional economy to work with one another and with a coordinated team of public partners. This session will feature three Next Generation Sector Partnerships. They are based in Chicago, Illinois, El Paso, Texas, and Northern Colorado. Their common focus is manufacturing. Each are examples of how activating local manufacturing business leaders to tackle shared challenges can have a dramatic impact on the overall resiliency of an industry as well as its community. Lindsey, the floor is yours.
Thank you so much, Elizabeth. Again, I’m Lindsey Woolsey with the Institute for Networks Communities. I’m very happy to be presenting to the Connecting Communities group across the country and very, very pleased that we have three of some of our best manufacturing Next Gen Sector partnerships joining us today. So I’ll reiterate and echo a little bit of what Elizabeth already said. In this time, this unprecedented time of COVID, we are all in this together, aren’t we? But we don’t always act that way.
Collaboration is hard, and this is something that we know across the country, and that we experience every day, but today we’ll hear from three very different regions, again, the south side of Chicago, Calumet. We’ll go to Northern Colorado as well, and we’ll go all the way down to the border in El Paso-Juarez, and we’ll hear from very different regions who may not have the full playbook yet, but who are absolutely mobilizing business leaders from a single industry sector, and in this case manufacturing for each of the presenters that we’ll hear from today in a shared regional economy to work with one another, so there are strong business to business networking characteristics of these partnerships that you will hear loud and clear today, but to also work with what can be a very complex array of education, workforce development, economic development, and government players in every region.
And so what we hope you pull out of today’s presentation is especially during these times of COVID, how is it that a region can really mobilize together, so that their economy is networked in ways that has positive impact, not only on their industry sectors that we want to stabilize and recover, but also for the communities and the people who live in the communities in that region. So here’s what I’d like to do. I’d like to give you a snapshot of what is this thing we call Next Gen Sector Partnerships anyway, and to help you understand a little bit more of that we have our flagship video that we’re going to play. All you have to do is sit back and watch, and then we’ll get to our speakers. So let’s go to that video now.
Video speaker 1
Jobs, they’re moving pretty fast these days. Most of us know what it’s like to feel obsolete in the modern job market, or to move away from home to find a good job. At the same time, lots of local employers struggle to find the right talent to make their businesses grow and thrive. It’s an unfortunate misalignment, and it’s a really big deal, because if businesses aren’t growing and creating quality jobs, the economy suffers, and if people can’t access quality jobs, the community suffers. So what’s going wrong here? What explains the disconnect between what businesses need and what schools are teaching? Aren’t there a bunch of programs already working with businesses to meet their needs? Absolutely.
In fact, lots of groups are trying to solve this problem, except they’re doing it on their own. Education, workforce development, and economic development organizations are all talking to businesses. They’re running focus groups and holding advisory meetings. What happens is that some employers are over solicited, asked to participate in lots of different meetings and boards while others are ignored entirely. Business leaders get burned out. Industry involvement is low, and survey samples are skewed. To make matters worse, conversations with business are often organized around narrow topics like what are your entry level training needs?
The result is that we often miss out on the bigger opportunities and needs that are shaping the industry for tomorrow, which just so happened to be the topics that business leaders are most interested in talking about. So what if we were able to flip things around a little bit? What if instead of the public sector pushing their programs and services on businesses, what if we could mobilize a whole industry to team up and engage with public partners to pull what they need from us, building the talent and skills of our local workforce while growing businesses and strengthening the sector? It’s called a Next Generation Sector Partnership, and it can transform your region’s economy. Next Gen Sector Partnerships are different than traditional sector partnerships in three key ways. One, industry is at the center.
Instead of organizing conversations with businesses around programs or grants, business leaders define and champion their own agenda and stay invested as a result. Industry at the center means that literally only businesses are given a seat at the center table. Public partners sit around the outside of the room in listen only mode. Does that mean they’re passive? Not at all. It means they give the floor to industry to design their own agenda, and they’re poised for collective action as a result.
It also means that businesses personally champion priorities. This is important. Next Gen Partnerships don’t advance initiatives unless there are business champions committed to them. Two, they tackle more than just workforce needs. In any growing industry, workforce is likely to be a top priority, but other things matter too like infrastructure needs, supply chain issues, or access to capital. Next Gen Sector Partnerships, tackle all of the above. Anything business leaders agree is important is a priority of a Next Gen Partnership. Three, community support.
Next Gen Sector Partnerships are a team effort. Education, workforce, and economic development partners work together to respond to industry needs. It’s not about a special initiative or a new program. It’s a way of working better together. Next Gen Sector Partnerships work. Across the country, they’re having a real impact. Metropolitan and rural areas have made timely changes to education programs at the right scale for the labor market. People are getting good jobs and keeping them, meanwhile, businesses can hire the talent they need to grow, and they’re generating new ideas, new markets, and new product lines because they’re better connected with their peers.
This boils down to stronger businesses and more people with better jobs, and that’s what matters most in making our communities thrive. Is your region ready for something different? Visit nextgensectorpartnerships.com.
Okay, welcome back, everyone. This is Lindsey Woolsey again. I hope from that video you pulled out a few big concepts. Number one, that every region has a number of economic sectors or industry sectors that really drive your jobs economy. Next Gen Sector Partnerships are all about organizing those industry sectors that are most critical to a region’s jobs economy. Today, you’ll hear from manufacturing partnerships across the country, because we know in the United States most regions have a very strong manufacturing regional economy, and if it’s not activated, then there are opportunities missed for people that live in those communities of that region. I hope you also pulled out a couple more things that Next Gen Sector Partnerships, although they look very different across the country, as they should, because they are uniquely rooted in the region that they are in, they also follow some pretty disciplined steps of making sure that there is a convener or a coordinator, a somebody who can really organize the many, many different partners that must come together, and if you will, wrap around that target industry.
And again, that includes the many, many different institutions in education, in workforce development, in economic development, and in government. These partnerships do not just focus on one issue. They focus on a comprehensive agenda that is designed by that industry, so what you will hear today are examples of that. You’ll hear a lot of topics and issues that these partnerships are focusing on related to talent and workforce, but you’ll also hear things like supply chain logistics and business to business networking. So without further ado, I’m going to introduce in further depth our six speakers from our three different regional manufacturing partnerships.
First, we’re going to go to Northern Colorado. Sylvia Robinson will be our first speaker. She’s the communications and HR program manager at Tolmar. And Tolmar is a pharmaceutical development and manufacturing company, again, located in Northern Colorado. She is also the current board chair of the Northern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership, or NoCo Manufacturing Partnership for short. Sylvia comes to this role after a 25 year career with a PhD in educational leadership. She has experience at almost every level of education, so her blend of education experience and her current role in a manufacturing facility and company in Northern Colorado makes her a perfect person to help lead the NoCo Manufacturing partnership.
But joining her is Heidi Hostetter, the vice president of Fauston Tool. Fauston Tool is a worldwide leader in a five access manufacturing technology and high precision manufacturing, also located in Northern Colorado. Fauston’s team manufactured a key component in NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope and parts for the Ball Aerospace US F-35 Lightning to joint strike fighter jet projects. Heidi also plays a very important role with the Northern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership. In fact, she was one of the founding manufacturers, so her history of the partnership will be important to hear from today.
Now, before we jump to Northern Colorado, I also want to introduce our other speakers. Nancy Wilson is the CEO of Morrison Container Handling Solutions located in Glenwood, Illinois. Morrison Container Handling Solutions is a leader in the packaging machinery manufacturing industry, providing custom designed container handling systems, timing screws, and change parts for national and international companies since 1971. Prior to joining Morrison in 2011, Nancy enjoyed a 25 year career at Ford Motor Company in leadership positions ranging from operations to strategic marketing to new business development. She is now an active manufacturing leader in the Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership. You’ll hear us refer to that as CMISP for short.
Her counterpart is Kindy Kruller. Kindy Kruller is the economic development program manager for Cook County Bureau of Economic Development. In that capacity, she manages urban planning system and government relationships, and she is the public partner convener of CMISP, again, the Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership. And finally, we’ll go down to the border to the El Paso-Juarez region, and you will meet Jackie Butler, and she is the US Director of Operations for BIO El Paso-Juarez, a non-profit industry association supporting the medical device manufacturing industry in the El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez Mexico region. BIO El Paso-Juarez is that cross-border region’s manufacturing sector partnership.
And joining her is Jose Gerardo, founder and president of General Labels and Printing, a label and specialty printer supplier company to multinational manufacturers of automotive, medical, food packaging, electronics, industrial, and consumer products, again, located within the Juarez-El Paso maquiladora corridor. Jose is a lead manufacturing champion for the cross-border Next Gen Manufacturing Partnership BIO El Paso. So I hope you get a sense that because we have two speakers for each partnership, how important it is that you have not only industry leadership at these partnerships really driving the boat and charting the agenda, but that you also have a public partner support person, who can really help guide the fleet and coordinate the many partners that need to wrap around the work of that manufacturing partnership.
To give you a really clear sense of what this looks like, we’re going to dive right into Northern Colorado as our first partnership. So Sylvia, I’m going to ask you to kick us off and give us a sense. We have this terrific slide with pictures of lots of activity from the NoCo Manufacturing Partnership, including B2B Networking, student tours, parent night, the trade show. So I want you to kick us off just a little bit with what is the NoCo Manufacturing Partnership, and tell us the what, and tell us the why. And, Sylvia, you are on mute, so you’ll want to unmute yourself.
Thank you, Lindsey, and thank you for having us here today. So we are just always excited to share what we’re doing in Northern Colorado with our NoCo Manufacturing Sector Partnership, and I’ll just kind of walk you through, like you said, the why we exist is really to serve our partnership, all of the manufacturers in Northern Colorado, and to just help build that manufacturing community, because we know that when we are contributing to our economy in a strong way, that we are also helping each other, but helping our communities. And so by doing that, the first thing that we wanted to do as a partnership was to listen to what our manufacturers were saying about what they needed in our region, what would be a support to them.
And so we really heard three main things, and that was the idea of networking with each other, having kind of excuses, and reasons, and events to get together, so that they could listen to each other here and learn from each other. And then also workforce development was a huge need, as I’m sure it is in many places, but our manufacturers felt like they needed help reaching out to a workforce, growing a talent pipeline, so that’s the main work that we do in our partnership. And then also with supply chain they wanted to know what was available in our state, outside of our state, how to solve different supply chain issues that they might be having, learning that, again, from each other and trying to network around that issue as well.
So the pictures are showing some different activities, and programs, and things that we’ve come up with as a partnership after listening to each other about what was needed, and so we have things like B2B networking events that you can see in that top left corner. We also do student tours and a huge event called Parent Night where we invite students from all the local districts to come and bring their parents with them to tour manufacturing facilities and learn about manufacturing careers and all the opportunities there. You’ll see down in the bottom left corner, the NOCOM Trade Show, and that’s just a huge event that we put on every year. That’s all around supply chain, and also there’s networking happening at that event as well, and also some education.
We have a speaker’s hall where we have different speakers who are speaking and teaching about different things that are of interest to our manufacturers. And then there’s a regional advisory meeting picture, and that is an event that we put together because our members, our manufacturers were saying, “We really want to answer the educators questions about what kind of curriculum and what kinds of classes students should be getting, and what kinds of skills they should be learning in order to have a manufacturing career.” But there were so many districts and so many requests for all these different individual school or district advisory meetings that we decided to have one big event.
And so then that allows probably… I think our last one we had 50 to 100 different manufacturers that were there to answer the questions about what do we need, and that allowed us to have one big event so that all the educators that were there kind of in the gallery around the edge of the room, listen in on a bunch of manufacturers talking about what they need in their workforce. It’s a really powerful event, and then we also host lunch and learns and also tours for and by manufacturers. So lots of things going on in NoCo.
Thank you so much, Sylvia. And if we’re on the next slide that really asks the question, “What are your partnerships areas of focus and the role in your region’s economy?” I love, Sylvia, how you already dove into what the activities of NoCo are. And so I want to maybe guide this a little bit too and help folks in our audience understand. So why does NoCo matter to Northern Colorado, to the regional economy that is Northern Colorado, manufacturing being a really big, again, important industry from a jobs and economic perspective? You’ve talked about business to business networking. You’ve talked about how much you’re connecting with schools, and students, and parents, so there’s that workforce development component. You’ve talked about supply chain connections and the trade show.
Can you just talk a little bit, and then we’ll jump to Heidi? Tell us a little bit more about the education side. You come from an education background, so you can bring to this, I think, a deeper sense of why does it matter that NoCo Manufacturing, for example, has actually become the go-to regional advisory board for multiple schools? I assume that means your K12 school districts, your career tech ed, your community colleges. There’s probably other ones in there I’m missing. Go a little deeper on the before, after picture related to that.
Yeah, thank you, Lindsey. I think looking back on my education years in this area, I really didn’t know much about industry. I think sometimes in a region where there isn’t a lot of strong industry involvement and education, educators can tend to just hope that they’re turning out students that have the right skills. There’s a lot of I think admittedly some guessing. None of us want to admit that, but that’s probably the truth about what’s happening. But when I transitioned over to industry and found out about NoCo Manufacturing Partnership, and what they were doing with helping schools really understand what the needs are, I felt like that was so powerful, and something that we probably take for granted a little bit in our area now in that I feel like our schools really do have, and like you said, the full spectrum of schools really do have a better sense of what the opportunities are, who is hiring students, what kinds of skills they need to have.
And I feel like that when you have two or three manufacturers come to your individual school or your individual district, you’re hearing a very small voice in a sense of… And very specific things, because every manufacturer is very different, but when you get all of us in one room together, a bunch of us in one room together, the voice becomes much stronger and doesn’t get hung up on certain little details that might matter to one or two people that might come to your advisory meeting, but you get to hear the patterns in what’s being said. You get to hear the bigger picture. And from somebody that’s done a lot of curriculum development, that’s huge.
That’s a really important thing is to be able to clearly understand what the issues are, where the gaps are, to be able to fill those as an educator and to be able to plan your curriculum around that accurately instead of tailoring a whole program toward one or two manufacturers that were nice enough to come to your meeting. That’s a big, giant mistake and really expensive, and then you’re not going to turn out students or a future pipeline that’s really going to be helpful in that community. Manufacturers are still going to be without the skilled workers that they need. Did that answer your question? I hope I did.
I think that’s great, Sylvia. Thank you so much, and I wanted you to dive into that a little bit further because I think for audience members who probably are coming from lots of different types of organizations, both government, and community, and regional, and across lots of different sectors, I think even knowing that before problem existed honestly exists all over the country, that there are schools that truly because they don’t have access to a critical mass of businesses in a shared industry sector, in a shared region, unfortunately, we do rely a lot on, gosh, we hope we’re getting this curriculum right. And what you’ve described is because you’ve organized a critical mass of manufacturers in Northern Colorado it’s that hope has been replaced by knowledge that, yes, you are going to be getting the educational curriculum and credentials right that are going to feed people into really well-paying, quality jobs in Northern Colorado. That’s a pretty big story.
So let’s jump now to you, Heidi, if you don’t mind. Heidi, you have been a part of the Northern Colorado manufacturing partner since it’s beginning, so I want to hear maybe just a little bit more, and we’ll go to the next slide that really dives into where you’re at now, so what the role the Northern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership has had and the impact it’s having potentially during COVID 19. Heidi, of course, feel free to please add anything around that early history and the evolution of the NoCo Manufacturing partnership that gets you to this point of what you’re doing now that’s so important related to COVID.
Sure. Thanks, Lindsey, for asking. So I think we’re seven years old now. Is that right, Sylvia? Yeah. And seven years ago, so pre-COVID, right? We all had a workforce gap, huge, and in Northern Colorado specifically, we weren’t… So the state was the eighth fastest growing state in the country, and Northern Colorado was growing twice as fast as that. So you can imagine we were just pulling our hair out in manufacturing. And so that really is what became NoCo, a bunch of us leaders in the manufacturing industry really getting together to commiserate. And that really was 50% of the battle, was knowing that you weren’t alone, right? And touching on some as Sylvia’s points, really kind of sharing those ideas and having this bigger voice to do something, and we realized there were legs to that table.
We couldn’t do it alone, and we couldn’t do it without educators and economic developers, right? And so that became NoCo. And if you want me to dive deeper into that, let me know, Lindsey, but really we became this voice of manufacturing. We wanted to add value. We were all servant leaders, both in our companies and now in our community. Most of the folks that started NoCo and continue to run it, Sylvia and others, are well known within our industry and community to dig in and really do the right thing, kind of the heavy lift. So back then, again, pre-COVID, we had entirely different issues. When COVID hit, I think we were one of the first states that started the shut down. We started to shut down, and we had manufacturers calling us saying, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I’m an essential business or not. I don’t know what to do. I can’t shut my facility like this.”
And so NoCo and the COVID manufacturing task force came together pretty quickly to help identify opportunities to ensure that manufacturers could pivot quickly and become deemed essential manufacturing during that period. One of the things that they did… And, Sylvia, stop me at any point. We created PPE. Massive shortage, right? So we were quickly able to repurpose manufacturers, have them start producing these reusable face respirators that became a philanthropic effort, and we could give them to homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters, so that helped the community, but it also helped keep our manufacturer’s equipment running, people employed, things like this. We’ve also spun out a couple of products with the help of the NoCo Sector Partnership safety certification programs where we go in and evaluate the CDC rigs, state rigs, local municipality. Are they safe? Are their employees safe? And then we get them certified so that we can transfer that liability to a third party and away from the manufacturer.
We’ve also created a pivot product with NoCo’s help. They sit on the COVID Manufacturing Task Force. Again, it’s all that one big effort, right? Voice of manufacturing, do what we need to do to support our community. Where we’re going in and helping people realize maybe the direction their company needs to take if this pandemic is such that their products are becoming irrelevant, potentially. That’s a lot.
That’s great, Heidi. Thank you so much. And hopefully folks can see on the slide really the top pieces that you’re describing during COVID. And what I’m hearing you say, and then we’re going to switch to Chicago, but what I’m hearing you say really is because you had this activated network, this mobilized network of manufacturers, and I love how you describe that you’re not just a voice of manufacturing. This is not a traditional sort of trade association. This is an activated network of you used the word servant leaders, right? Of manufacturers who are stepping in and stepping up around shared needs and connecting with the multiple education, and workforce, and other partners in your region. And what a great example of during COVID being able to do that and to pivot very quickly.
So thank you, Sylvia and Heidi. Everyone in our audience, of course, we will have time for Q&A, but we are going to now shift. So I’m going to ask Sylvia and Heidi to switch their videos off, and I’m going to ask Nancy and Kindy to switch their videos on, and we’re going to travel to the south side of Chicago, the Calumet region. And so if Nancy and Kindy are ready to go and unmuted, I’ll ask Sylvia and Heidi to mute themselves.
Then we’re going to first jump to Kindy actually, because here’s what I think we’ll do. Kindy, can you give us kind of the nuts and bolts of the Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership, CMISP.
And then, Nancy, I want you to add in sort of the magic, right? What really makes it something? What makes it unique? what makes it different? So hopefully everyone is looking at a picture right now of what is a very engaged group of students, the CMISP logo.
And, Kindy. Why don’t you dive in there, and then we’ll jump to the next slide.
That sounds great. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for having us. So this image really embodies the heart of CMISP, which is to ensure the manufacturers of today are engaging the workforce of tomorrow, and this image is from a manufacturing day where local high schools tour different manufacturers in the region and showcase the diversity of career pathways that are a part of manufacturing.
That’s great. Kindy. So we’ll jump to the next slide and tell us a little bit about your area of focus.
Absolutely. So the Calumet Manufacturing Industry Sector Partnership, or CMISP as we refer to it, is a network of over 30 manufacturing businesses in the Calumet region. The next slide has a map, but it’s just incorporates Southern Chicago and the Cook County Southland. Our membership includes small family owned and operated manufacturing businesses to large multinational manufacturing firms, but they come together to solve common problems. The businesses are really the leaders, as you’ve heard from Colorado, to identify common opportunities, define and execute an action agenda. It’s a community supported effort. So we launched in November of 2017, and it was with the support of seven community and government organizations, the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development included where I work at.
The partnership gets the things done really through two action teams and supports the overall goals of the mission of the partnership. The first is to increase business to business networking, and the second is to develop a skilled workforce. We meet regularly. We have just resumed not our in-person meetings, but our Zoom calls, so that’s been a learning curve for some of us, but while we miss being in each other’s spaces and learning from our different manufacturing sites, and the tours that we have, and the tours of the schools, we are being very safe right now in terms of how we’re reaching our membership.
That’s great, Kindy, and I just want to call out a couple things, and then, Nancy, I’d like to have you add in.
So you did say it’s a network and partnership of manufacturers. You highlighted small, and medium size, and family owned along with some of your bigger manufacturers.
I want to really point that out for the audience, because quite typically government and public entities really kind of only know how to reach out to the big guys, right? but CMISP is made up of some of your smaller and family owned, which is a quite different group. Is that correct?
Yeah, absolutely. And I think one of the issues that we see is just the capacity of staff at these different size and scale organizations and companies. And so making sure that this is a open playing field and an open partnership for all of those folks. So everything we do is free. Everything we do is really, again, focused on manufacturing and business led efforts. And again, it really just what folks get out of it is just a wide variety of resources, contacts, networks, and The scale of the company isn’t as important as how we can work together.
That’s great, Thank you, Kindy. Nancy, give us a sense from the manufacturer side of things, from Morrison Solutions. Tell us what does this partnership mean for you and your company? Why are you so engaged and involved? Tell us a little bit about that.
Sure. I’m excited I get to talk about the magic. I’m happy to do that. I guess I would go back with we’ve had a history of working with other associations, and I would say we were very active, not necessarily in this region as much, but in the packaging association, and the relationships that we were able to develop from that was really valuable to our business. And so then that kind of naturally grew into our relationship with the local university, because we all need workforce. We’re a custom equipment manufacturer, so we’re very engineering heavy, and our needs for engineering was strong. So we developed a strong relationship with Purdue Northwest, which was in the area here, and we were instrumental in helping them get the first four year degreed electrical mechanical combination mechatronics program in the area. And so we kind of have started those relationships, and what’s great about relationships, and then I was invited or heard about the CMISP group, and that really has been a really wonderful opportunity for us to get local, and to work with local manufacturers, because we were kind of national in what we were doing before.
Bringing this ability to understand who our fellow manufacturers are local and our local needs has really been some of the magic for us, and initially we started out, and we were working same… Everybody in the country is working on workforce development, the low unemployment rate we had, and the needs. We had similar meetings with our local schools. We actually have two kind of one meeting of… or we were having prior to COVID, one meeting of just manufacturers, and then the next meeting was manufacturers with our local schools, high schools, trade schools. We’d had superintendents. We had really great partnership going, and it was really helpful for them in a time when they were trying to develop their Perkins V Grant funding, which would help them with technical schools, which we need. Our workforce development, we need more tech schools, and so it all kind of just intermixed and flows together.
So we were working on that. We did manufacturing days. We did a lot of our meetings, we held at different manufacturers, so we could do tours of their facilities, and we could learn from each other, but really the magic is the relationship and the relationships that you build with your fellow manufacturers. It’s as simple as that. When COVID hit, I would probably fast forward a little bit, but when COVID hit, we had some of the same questions, “Oh my god, what am I going to do? Are we essential workers? Aren’t we?” And we thought we were, and so just talking with the friends that I’ve made through this association, and what we were putting out, and we found sources for PPE that was scattered out, and we knew who to reach to and who to talk with. And I guess that’s probably the biggest magic piece that I would say is the power of relationships and the power of learning who does what.
And that really comes as well with the public partners that we have, because prior to this, I had no idea of all the resources that were available, much less to know who does what, and who to go to. And it’s still confusing to me, and I always used to call it alphabet soup when they would introduce themselves at the meeting, because they all use initials, and I don’t know what they mean. I’m learning, but one of the things that we’ve worked into our meetings is just a presentation from each of these public partners at the meeting, so all the manufacturers can say, “Huh, maybe I can use this, or I know someone who can.” So there’s just been a lot of growth and a lot of learning that we’ve done over time, but it really comes down to relationships, understanding how we can work together to help each other. I have a long list of things that we did through COVID. COVID was a really, really scary time.
It’s not that it’s not scary now, but back then it was really scary. What do we do? How do we keep our workers safe? Where did you find masks? How are we going to continue operating? And my business, we were incredibly impacted with COVID, because you all remember when the grocery shelves were empty, we make equipment that allows people to package for grocery shelves, so we were able to implement that very quickly. And the other thing that we did, Thermo Fisher partnered with us, and we started designing and developing manufacturing COVID test kit equipment. So talk about a pivot in a major crazy time, but the relationships that we had with the manufacturers around us enabled us and helped us to be able to do that.
Fantastic, Nancy, I really appreciate that you transferred over to that question of, “What has been the role of CMISP during COVID?” Here’s a couple things I’m hearing, and then, Kindy, I want you to just put a final bow on the COVID piece for us before we go down to the border, but here’s what I’m hearing, Nancy, is that very scary times, obviously, for manufacturers. Am I going to have to close my doors? But because you had a go-to network of local manufacturers, you were able to get the PPE you needed, share best practices around safety for workers, make the supply chain connections, understand how you could fill gaps. I’ve heard you say before, “It just took the scariness out of it and were marching right along.” So to have that go-to network seems quite important.
And not just the network of manufacturers, the network of manufacturers and the public partners. The public partners were really key in this. I mean, they helped us list some of the sourcing of this, and they had information and availability on PPP and things like that. So it’s the relationship that you build with both that was just so instrumental.
Thank you, Nancy. Kindy, will you put a bow on that for us?
Sure. Are we looking at the last slide? Should I walk through that? Do we have time?
We’re on the COVID 19.
Okay. So this is where, as Nancy alluded, and too in some instances and said directly in others, COVID has been just an incredibly scary time in many parts of the country, and we were just very directly impacted in Cook County. I just wanted to share some of the graphs. Well, you have a site map to the right that shows the buff colored map of just a location map that I thought that would be helpful just to understand our geography within the Southland of Chicago. The top graph that you’re looking at though is just the overall inpatient hospital admissions in suburban Cook County since March, and you can just see they were really high March, April, May, and then tapered off and are going back up. The bottom left heat map just shows that cases per 100,000 people, and you can see in the significant green and teal that we’re showing an increase of cases.
And the bottom right heat map shows since the beginning of tracking. The deep red is showing the increases of cases. To that point, our mayor of Chicago, that while Nancy’s company isn’t in there, many of us live and work in different parts of Chicago, has issued a stay at home order starting this weekend. So our cases are just incredibly going up. I just wanted to say that because of all of this in this timeframe, we are able to deal with this surge a bit differently. Nancy mentioned the PPE, and this was just such an incredible part for us of helping our members. When Governor Pritzker called the stay at home order on March 20th, manufacturing was deemed essential, which is wonderful to ensure companies like Nancy and many of our other members were still able to contribute all of their goods and supply chain related items for the needs of consumers, but what it meant is that how do we make sure that all of those workers are safe?
And it has just been a flurry of what is the science, what do we need? And within the workplace it’s how do we get our workers tested? And so the role of as a convener, which I can just speak to in just a few more seconds, is really just finding every piece of information and communicating. So we were doing monthly newsletters originally. Now we are doing weekly, and so just trying to comb every resource we could and share that, compile it, send it out, and then through the Next Gen Partnership, your community of practice really pushing the group to say, “We need to come back together again. We need to do a Zoom, even though that’s not what we’ve ever done before,” really talking to Nancy and the other leadership folks of CMISP to think about Zoom.
We’ve done three Zoom calls now, and they’ve all just been incredibly successful just taking a round table format, so understanding what needs the companies have, how we can assist them, because it’s gone from PPE to worker assistance, to financial assistance, to its just been every day brings a new challenge. And we’re just trying to understand what are those resources and getting them out to the businesses as soon as we can.
Great. Thank you so much, Kindy, and again, we will have some time for Q&A if folks have questions, but you’ve laid out I think some of the big challenges, and again, the really important role that a partnership and the industry but with the public partners play, so thank you Nancy and Kindy. We’re going to now go down to the border region. We’re going to go down to El Paso-Juarez and hear from Jackie and Jose. And, Jackie, I’d like to go to you first. So I’ll ask Jackie and Jose to put their videos on, and others to turn their videos off. And, Jackie, the slide that we have here has a picture and a map. It tells us a little bit about what your partnership is, so take it from there and just give us sort of the nuts and bolts to start off with.
Sure. Thank you so much, Lindsey. Thank you to Next Gen Sector Partnerships and the Federal Reserve Bank for the opportunity to share our story with you today. BIO El Paso-Juarez was founded in 2018 by a handful of industry leaders and supporting organizations who wanted to see how we could realize the full potential of the medical device manufacturing industry in our region, which currently employs over 40,000 individuals. As you can see in the images, our region is very unique in that we encompass two countries, the US and Mexico, and three states, Texas, New Mexico, and the State of Chihuahua in Mexico. The US-Mexico border is a robust and sophisticated manufacturing powerhouse already. In Ciudad Juarez alone there are more than 400 manufacturing facilities in a wide range of industries with a manufacturing workforce of over a quarter of a million people. Medical devices account for about 10% of the manufacturing sector with approximately 40 manufacturing facilities, and a supply chain, and manufacturing system that ebbs and flows across both sides of the border in order to get finished products.
You can get a snapshot of this cross-border dynamic in our map that we included in the slide. The impact of our region on the medical device market in the United States is substantial and not something that’s easily captured in a graphic. Mexico is the number one exporter of medical devices to the United States, and Ciudad Juarez the number one exporter of medical devices in all of Mexico. Medical devices are not only a growing and technologically advanced industry, they also have direct impact on health, as we’ve seen during this pandemic. So when BIO El Paso-Juarez was founded just a few short years ago, we knew that we needed to help educate the public and policy makers alike on how intertwined our cross-border communities are in the manufacturing sector, and why medical device manufacturing in particular should be nurtured and expanded.
As we began structuring our organization, you’ll see in some of those graphics, we were very intentional about what our membership and partnership structure should look like, and knew that we needed industry, public sector, and the non-profit sector at the table in order to make any meaningful impact, plus our unique positioning requires that we establish these partnerships on both sides of the border in order to be truly representative of our manufacturing community. So we’ve spent the last several years developing these relationships and partnerships. Gaining trust amongst our industry partners has been key and then developing our strategy. So one of our strategy, and industry partners, and action plan champions, Mr. Jose Gerardo is going to share with us more about the priorities that we’ve put in place, and how we’re working towards those to accomplish our mission.
Great. Thank you so much, Jackie, and, Jose, we’ll hand it right to you. We’ll make sure we’re on the slide that really shows what your partnership’s areas of focus are, and tell us a little bit about those.
Thank you for the kind introduction, Lindsey and Jackie. Yeah, please allow me to begin with a brief remark that will acquaint you with these collaboration efforts. Last year, the consulting firm, Grant Thornton, conducted a binational ecosystem mapping project in which several key areas were identified as priorities for further development, so that our binational region could be competitive and have the necessary resources to compete with other medical clusters around the world for the attraction of research, developing, development, and manufacturing of medical devices in our region. I will provide some insight into two of those areas, supply chain development and our cluster ecosystem promotional efforts currently underway, and Ms. Butler will present on the remaining two areas of talent development and innovation. So let’s start with supply chain development.
The foundation for economic growth has determined that societies with a highly developed supply chain infrastructure are able to exchange many goods between businesses and consumers quickly and at low cost. As a result, the economy grows, therefore, our efforts in this area are concentrating on mapping of key supply gaps and needs, direct support and training of suppliers in the areas deemed necessary to conduct business within medical device ecosystems as part of the BIO El Paso-Juarez Partner Certification Program, as well as connecting those suppliers to manufacturers as our end goal. These efforts are being conducted with the collaboration of state and local governments as well as other organizations that are pulling the resources together, with the BIO El Paso-Juarez cluster on both ends. As currently, local companies provide only around 2% to 3% of raw material supply to the Maquiladora industry in our region, with only about 2/10 of that sourced by the medical device sector, therefore, there is a significant opportunity for local suppliers to broaden their product offering and expand into the medical device industry.
And I’ll jump in here to add just a few notes on talent development and innovation, since they’re directly tied to our efforts in supporting supply chain development as well. One of the primary barriers most of our industry partners face is finding the right talent to pursue the necessary quality and regulatory standards that are required for the medical device manufacturing industry. This is further compounded again by our borders, which add another layer of complexity in bridging educational standards, educational institutions, salaries, and even language, right? So we’re having to bridge this bilingual ecosystem that we have, and this is really where having educational institutions and our workforce organizations as part of our partnership is critical.
On the innovation side, we really strive to not only be a source of production for medical devices, but also a source of innovation, including design and development, R&D, and testing. The more our supply chain efforts can support the increase of these functions in our region, the more robust our capabilities will become, leading to a more vibrant and complete manufacturing ecosystem. So our startups, our universities, and our educational institutions play a key role here as well. Jose, you’re on mute. Sorry.
Thank you, Jackie. And our final priority is promotion and marketing of the organization and our region resources and capabilities. Our efforts have spanned both an internal and external approach for assisting in the recruitment of membership to the various supply pool commodities. This as a result of our mapping of suppliers in both sides of the border described previously under supply chain development, as well as providing a soft landing pad for manufacturers who are looking to relocate their operations to our area and will be looking to shore up their supply chains within the region, and through the advocacy for industry trade shows that are now going virtual, that will allow to tour, meet and greet both vendors and manufacturers in a virtual workspace through the incorporation of an in reverse exhibition approach, the first of which will take place this December, will allow us to develop opportunities for interaction on a global scale.
The organization is also focused on the creation of collaborative networks and connections and together with the community stakeholders strive for alignment in common areas of interest on both sides of the border that otherwise would’ve been much more challenging if approached individually. As an industry partner in the BIO El Paso-Juarez cluster, general labels and printing have seen many benefits of these promotion efforts and collaborative networks, especially now that we’re in the pandemic, and I will hand this back to Jackie to discuss how BIO EPA is supporting our industry during COVID 19.
So, Lindsey, if you don’t mind, we can move on to the last slide here to talk about how our region and our partnership specifically has worked to respond in this new COVID 19 environment. Due to the nature of our focus on medical devices, we found ourselves thrust into conversations related to the production of PPE, respirators, ventilators, test kits, the whole gamut of equipment and supplies that are needed to respond to the pandemic. While we had been tracking global disruptions to the industry prior to March, the impact hit home quickly when the shutdowns occurred here, and we mobilized to help the manufacturing sector navigate the shutdowns and policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels in both the United States and Mexico. All of the foundational efforts that we did over the last several years to connect the medical device industry on both sides of the border placed us in an advantageous position we feel to respond to the emergency needs of local healthcare providers and inform government on a binational level.
Through our COVID 19 response task force, which got together really quickly and was made up of all of our partners across the spectrum, we helped to connect resources and align strategy at the production and distribution levels to secure life saving resources for our community in both El Paso and Juarez. In our response efforts, we reprioritize collecting data and connecting the industry and their efforts to boost production or shift production to COVID 19, as some of our other guest speakers have mentioned as well. We applied for our local CARES Act funding to assist those manufacturers and suppliers who were entering the medical device sector for the first time, or also those who were negatively impacted by COVID 19. With the help of this funding, we’ve been providing ISO and quality standards training and assistance to 16 local companies, most of which have operations on both sides of the border.
This training and assistance will help to integrate these 16 companies into the local supply chain for medical devices, which feeds into our overall priorities and strategies for the organization, and also help to develop more locally sourced PPE medical devices and equipment for our region as we continue to battle COVID 19. I’d just like to end by saying that a couple of things about what we’re doing programmatically. So we have shifted to all virtual programming for our members and our partners in the last seven months. Since our shutdown occurred initially in March, we’ve hosted over 10 virtual webinars ranging in topics, but mostly related to COVID 19. We’ve held over 100 meetings with our members and our partners. That’s including board meetings, taskforce meetings, and action team meetings, and our hosting, as Jose mentioned, our annual summit virtually and including a trade show component.
And I’d just like to wrap up our comments by saying that even with all the work we’ve done to boost production of PPE and help our healthcare community respond to COVID 19, the pandemic is still surging and paralyzing our community today. El Paso is in the headlines once again for our skyrocketing COVID 19 numbers. We know that viruses don’t respect borders, especially within a dynamic ecosystem and cross border economy such as ours. This only highlights the importance of having a cohesive binational partnership that can address challenges at the local, state, and federal levels as issues and emergencies arise. We are going to continue to work with our partners at all levels to support both the necessary measures to control the spread within our community as well as the continued production within our manufacturing sector of medical devices and PPE to help the world combat COVID 19.
Thank you so much, Jackie and Jose. Really I think your story is such an incredible bookend to the panel precisely because you are correct. We are seeing in the headlines that there is a surge in El Paso, and we know that that’s happening nationwide, just staged in different places. Leave it to an invisible virus to make visible the networks that underpin our daily lives. And hopefully everyone today has really heard the story loud and clear of partnership networks. Jose, you used the term ecosystem. I think the big takeaway, I hope, truly is how do you get a critical industry organized enough, networking enough, so that it is enough of a draw for the many, many different public partners in a region to also coordinate and get organized. So with that, panelists, I’m going to ask all of you to turn your videos back on, and we have some time left for questions here. So, Matuschka, I’m going to hand it back to you to walk us through the Q&A.
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Thank you, Lindsey. As a reminder, we are taking questions from our participants today. To do that, please submit them asking the ask a question panel that’s on your screen. You can click on that button. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will ask our panelists to remain on mute unless they’re speaking to prevent feedback. So let’s go ahead and start with our questions here. The first one is for Sylvia and Heidi. I’m combining a few questions here that we have specifically to NoCo. They want to know, “How is NoCo funded, and why not Eastern or Western Colorado, or the whole state? Did this have to do with the businesses that started the partnership, or is there another strategic reason?”
Thank you, Matuschka, and my apologies. Heidi was called away on a… Oh, there she is. Yay. All right. Well, I will try to answer this question. Heidi. We’re being asked about how we’re funded, and then why we have just the region of Northern Colorado. So I’ll start with that one, and that is that the Colorado Workforce Development Council, which is a state… I don’t know how to… a department, I guess, for lack of a better word. So that council was behind a lot of the growth and bridge partnership grants that went into developing the sector partnership program in our state, and so they had developed a system of regions, and we happen to be region two, which is two large counties in Northern Colorado of Larimer and Weld county, so that’s why.
And there are some other sector partnerships for manufacturing in our state in those other regions. There’s a southern one. There’s a Northeastern Colorado one. So there are other ones, but we happen to be that region too. So that was designated to us, and then our funding is, as I said, from that Colorado Workforce Development Council, but then we also get funding from some of our local municipalities who have an interest in us doing well, because that does help with economic development and showing that we have a healthy ecosystem. I loved Jose’s word on that. And so that’s how we get our funding. We also have written some other grant for grant dollars like from some banks and different organizations like that, but then we also get a lot of funding from NOCOM, which is our trade show. And I’m going to let Heidi tell you a little bit about NOCOM
Yeah. I mean, it’s a manufacturing trade show. The emphasis through the years has been on supply chain, but we’ve figured out a way to make that a big revenue generator for the sector partnership. In fact, I think it’s the main staple, isn’t it, Sylvia?
It is definitely at least half of our annual budget.
Yes. So we figured out a way between some of the attendance fees, booth costs, where we can pay the expenses, and then put this into a fund.
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Okay, thank you. So the next one I’m going to open up to anyone who wants to answer. What distinguishes these public private partnerships from local chapters of professional associations and trade associations?
I’m happy to take a stab at that. Since the Next Gen Sector Partnership community practice operates across 18 states and almost 100 of these partnerships now. The biggest distinction, quite honestly, is that these are not organizations, even though you’ve heard from speakers who work, and reside, and do the work out of their organizations, a Next Gen Sector Partnership is not an organization. It’s a network. It truly is a network, and so that’s a different animal. And so the difference between a Next Gen Sector Partnership and a trade association, number one, it’s typically not dues or membership based.
Now, there are some anomalies, but the key truly is I think going back to Heidi and Sylvia, your term of servant leaders, it’s relying on civic entrepreneurs, if you will, civic leaders within the business sector as well as public sector to come together into a network. A trade association, typically dues paying, and that sets up a transactional nature between the association staff and the businesses, whereas a Next Gen Sector Partnership is very much a partnership transaction, not sort of a vendor staff and member transaction. Those are kind of the biggest differences we see across the country.
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Thanks, Lindsey. I think that’s helpful on clearing that up for our listeners. Has any of the partnerships considered worker ownership training as a viable strategy, especially working with youth as they enter the workforce?
I’m not exactly sure what worker ownership training is. I do know that we are working and have worked with the local boards here in the Calumet region in creating some apprenticeship programs, but those are ending up working for individual companies as well as the website is creating kind of a job match or an intern placing kind of match that we can do. I don’t know the term that they were talking about, but I do know that as we’re working on trying to create the right workforce or get the right workforce into the companies, it’s as kind of Lindsey talked about. It’s a partnership. So it’s not that formalized to be able to have a hiring practice, but it’s a marriage of the public partners that have the resources to support those apprenticeships, if that makes sense.
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Yeah, I think it does, Nancy. I was thinking of it the same way you were, if it was kind of just a connection, I think, for incoming, if they can use the partnerships in that way. So I’m kind of looking at the way you are too. Anybody else, Lindsey or anybody else want to comment on that? Jose?
Yes, Matuschka. I would like to ask Jackie to chime in on this and ask her to give us a description of precisely a program that our company is participating in, but she can expand a little bit on how we went from idea to actual action on the TMAC partnership, Jackie, that we have for these 16 companies. Would you like to expand on that?
Yes, happy to. Thank you, Jose. So I mentioned that we received some CARES Act funding to provide ISO training and implementation to a handful of manufacturers in our region. So the key there is our partnership with our local university, the University of Texas at El Paso, through their collaboration with the Texas Manufacturing Assistant Center. So TMAC is the training provider here, and they’re harnessing all of their expertise and their staff to be able to walk through a lot of the ISO requirements for 13485 and 9001, which are more relevant to the medical device manufacturing sector, and they don’t just stop at the training.
So we’ve provided, let’s see, four training sessions so far, which require commitment of at least 16 hours per training session for these companies, but then we’re on the ground virtually with them helping them to go through the auditing process for ISO certification, and so this is an opportunity for us not only to engage employees that aren’t generally engaged in the quality management systems for the manufacturing facilities themselves, but really to help the manufacturers get more of their staff trained, especially now while a lot of them are operating on skeleton crews or downsized workforce and may need more of that quality support that they didn’t have before.
Thank you, Jackie. I would also like to add on there and encourage both CMISP and NoCo to perhaps follow up after this webinar and have us share with you how we were able to connect with this manufacturing assisting center, which I’m sure every state in the nation has one, and how the program is working, because we are not just incorporating these 16 companies in this specific program. Our company has also been invited to other free trainings for which TMAC receives federal grants, state and federal grants, and it benefits our company as it saves quite a bit in training.
And now that we don’t have to actually get in our cars and spend 30 minutes commuting to the university and for front and back, we are able to actually double the effectiveness of every hour of training that we receive from them. So I would definitely encourage you to get in touch with us, so that we can collaborate on giving you the framework of how we got this started. It’s a very, very successful program. I can tell you that. My people are very, very happy with it.
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Thank you for elaborating on that, Jose and Jackie. So this next question I think I’m going to ask you here. We have several questions, and I know we’re coming close on time, but I’m going to go… Let’s go a little bit over to just try to get two or three more questions here, and I’m looking through. We have quite a few. This next one, anybody who would like to answer is, “Is there something unique about manufacturing as a space to launch these types of partnerships, or are there other sectors that have tried Next Generation Sector Partnerships?”
So, Matuschka, this is Lindsey, and I can take that again from the National Community of Practice. We find that manufacturing and healthcare are the two most common Next Generation Sector Partnerships, and there’s probably really good reason for that, right? Because these are very, very data driven. And so you will not find a Next Generation Sector Partnerships emerging and growing legs in a sector that is just sort of on a wishlist, or maybe just emerging, and just very small and growing. It really does depend on which industry sector in a regional economy is already a strong economic and jobs asset, because that’s the makings of a really good network and actual business to business partnership.
So manufacturing and healthcare are the most common, but across our community of practice, we also have information and technology, agriculture, creative, construction you will find. I think that’s it. There might be a couple that I’m missing. Oh, finance and banking has been one. Those are the top ones, but you will absolutely find that manufacturing makes up the majority along with healthcare in our community.
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Okay. This next one is to our Calumet partnership, “In Chicago, you’re working in a historically black and underserved area, the area of Calumet in South Chicago. Can you comment more on the importance of the Calumet Manufacturer’s partnership on the communities of that region?”
Sure, I’d be happy to talk about this, and then Kindy may want to add in some probably more of the data, but we are in an area, and it’s one of the reasons that we’re focusing on the workforce development, I would say, in trying to bring everyone along with this area. Cook County as a county, the southern part has not come anywhere close to keeping up with northern Cook County when it comes to economic growth. So we know we’re in an area that really requires a lot more focus and attention. There’s been other efforts that are working on this.
The manufacturers here though, the shared interest that we have in keeping this, one of the gems we have is we have great infrastructure. We have a lot of traditional manufacturing here, or capability, I should say, here. Workforce is probably the biggest need that we have, and that’s why we’re working on the education side in trying to develop workforce to be able to help us grow. It’s an issue that we’re really finding that we have to work on, and you’re right, we are in an area that is definitely behind economically, but that has its advantages too, I guess.
I would just say from the standpoint of Cook County and the lens that we will bring to equity, and racial justice, and other opportunities to engage a wide variety of communities, diverse communities throughout suburban Cook County, is just a huge area of importance for President Preckwinkle, for the Bureau of Economic Development, and all the departments within the county. So one of the things as a convening member of CMISP is we’re able to bring all of those resources, the data as Nancy mentioned, and be that convener, and really lift up that both the need, bring some ready solutions, bring some funding, bring programs, and so ensuring that we’re able to both connect with the jobs, apprenticeships, training institutions, community colleges, et cetera.
I think that’s where CMISP really has a lot of value in thinking about what this partnership and ecosystem can do, and how we can work together to lift up these communities and identify solutions. Nancy and I could probably give a talk on this one all day, because there’s a lot of resources that have been creative because of this, and I would be happy to share those if you want to contact me.
Yeah, and I just would echo, it’s kind of what I talked about before. This is a partnership. There are a lot of different resources that are available that CMISP crosses boundaries with. The Southland Development Authority, President Preckwinkle kind of funded and helped us get that going, and a lot of effort that’s put there, that CMISP just compliments the relationships. And again, going back to the resources that are available from the public partners that I think manufacturing down here didn’t necessarily… I know we didn’t necessarily know were available. That’s one of the values of this is just getting that information out, so that we can help grow this area.
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Okay, thank you, Kindy and Nancy. Let me try to get one, if not, I’m going to try to get two questions in, but we’re running really tight on time. Jackie, can you describe how you activated, create bilocal resources supporting local manufacturing efforts?
Absolutely. So following the mad rush to try to figure out who was producing what, where PPE was available that I think the whole world experienced between March and May mostly, we really took some time, and we had a board member who volunteered her time to gather all of the resources related to any manufacturer in the region who was developing PPE, what they were developing, what types. So there’s different types of masks, and different types of different types of materials that are used, and various grades of those PPE, so she took the time, and she put together a database, basically, that outlined where people could source PPE. And we did have to go outside of the region, so anyone in our networks, we put that into the database. She did a lot of screening to make sure that those sources were valid, and that they weren’t fraudulent, so that we did see a lot of fraudulent PPE that came out of certain markets after the surge.
And then we partnered with our local organization, so our Better Business Bureau has been kind of the sounding board for a lot of resources for business, and so we shared that database, and it’s on our BBB’s website right now of all of the sources for PPE and other items that are necessary in response to COVID for businesses to keep operating. We highlight those who are locally produced, so that hopefully people, if they have the option, they can support local businesses, and we have all of the contact information, minimum quantities that need to be purchased, pricing information, as much detail as we can, and then also on our website, BIO El Paso-Juarez, we have a full page on COVID 19, and we highlight local manufacturers of PPE there also as an additional resource to the community.
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Thanks, Jackie. Our last question is going to go to the NoCo Partnership, “How can the rest of us effectively engage and educate teachers about the industries and the workforce needs?”
Thank you for that question, Matuschka. I think the main thing is relationally is what I would say, and I think that that goes back to what Lindsey was saying about partnerships being a free membership, because then when we really want to partner with teachers and educators, there’s no barrier to them joining the partnership. There’s no big membership dues or fees that they have to pay. They just show up, and what we find in our Workforce Development Committee is that we start to become friends, and we want to help each other, and we know that helping the teachers understand first what we do, so offering tours. One of the things we’re doing now in our Workforce Development Committee is to produce… We’re getting together funding and kind of pivoting some of our funding that we used to use to pay for buses and pizza to do film projects, and for the manufacturers that are comfortable allowing us to bring a small film crew in and film a virtual tour, and then we’re hosting those up on a Vimeo site for those teachers to access for free.
And then also at the same time, filming what we’re calling career talks, where we invite manufacturers to talk about their careers, how they got there, what their career path was. So we’re developing a whole library of those resources now, which even after COVID and when we’re all able to get back into each other’s facilities, that we’ll still have those as a resource to be able to use in a video library. So I think just being willing to visit classrooms, whether that’s virtually or in-person, but to help develop those relationships with the educators firsts so that they believe in our industry, and then they want to tell their students about it. They get excited about it, because we are excited about it, so that’s something that we can just kind of plant that seed with teachers, and then they share it out with their students.
Matuschka Lindo Briggs
Thank you, Sylvia. Well, we went a little over time, but I think it was just such great information. I just wanted to get a few more questions in. I’d like to thank all of our speakers today for sharing their time and expertise with us, as well as all the participants that join today for our discussion on mobilizing public private partnerships to rebuild regional economies. I’d also like to say if you’d like to find out more and talk to Lindsey, you can go to the website, which is www.nextgensectorpartnerships, all together, no spaces, www.nextgensectorpartnerships.com.
So a few reminders, we will have a recording available with an audio file on the Connecting Communities website of everything that you’ve seen and you’ve heard today. We’ll also have a PowerPoint that will be on there for you to look at the PowerPoint. We also welcome ideas for future recordings. We just shared a survey link if you joined us in the webinar, and this same link will be distributed via email in a few minutes. So we appreciate any of your feedback about today’s session. We’d love to hear from everyone. So I’d like to say thank you for joining us. This concludes today’s Connecting Communities webinar. Enjoy the rest of your day.