Career Connect Metro West

Career Connect Metro WestCareer Connect Metro West (CCMW) is an organization established to help connect unemployed and underemployed people to quality living wage jobs in western Cook, DuPage and the Fox River towns in Kane and Kendal Counties. CCMW is a partnership between DuPage United, the Jane Addams Resource Center, the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing, and DuPage County, to provide free training for skilled jobs that are critically needed by manufacturers in DuPage County and the surrounding district. 

This fall at Technology Center of DuPage in Addison, Jane Adams Resource Corp. will hold evening classes in both welding (350 hours, 14 weeks) and CNC (500 hours, 20 weeks). CNC is Computer Numerical Control: automated operation of a machine by a computer program, which is used in most local manufacturing. Classes will be open entry/exit which means that trainees may advance through the programs at a faster or slower pace depending on their skill level. Applicants must be over the age of 18, eligible to work in the U.S. and be low income. 99% of people who aren’t working will be eligible.


Why Manufacturing?

DuPage County is home to an estimated 50,000 working poor (source: DuPage Federation). The rise of unemployment and the shrinking job market have made many families experience want, often for the first time. People in the metro-west area of Chicagoland need a way to prepare for and connect to quality living wage careers in growing employment sectors, which lack qualified candidates for existing openings.

DuPage County manufacturers will need to replace 9,000 retiring employees, despite the projected 8% drop in manufacturing employment over the next 10 years. While many resources exist related to manufacturing, they are greatly underutilized, mostly due to the lack of a recruiting agent to inform and connect job seekers to employment in the manufacturing sector. Additionally, the current system of resources is often very difficult for both job seekers and employers to navigate, leaving good people without work and good jobs unfilled.

Metro West Manufacturing Workforce Collaborative:
Three organizations working together

The DuPage County Board has budgeted $200,000 to support the Metro West Manufacturing Workforce Collaborative. This is seed money to recruit, train and place people who are underemployed or unemployed into existing good paying jobs. There are 1700 manufacturing companies in DuPage County many of whom are unable to grow or expand due to lack of qualified job applicants. This is a huge opportunity for economic growth and development.

Career Connect Metro West (CCMW) is part one of the Collaborative.  It will recruit, assess, and support suitable candidates from the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed. It will connect them to the training that best fits an applicant's abilities and circumstances, and help them connect to quality living-wage jobs in western Cook, DuPage and the Fox River towns of Kane and Kendall Counties.  CCMW was founded by the leaders of DuPage United after over 30 months of research, communitywide listening sessions, relationship building and public actions.

Part two of the Collaborative is the Jane Addams Resource Corp. JARC provides highly respected free training for careers in advanced manufacturing. JARC uses an open enrollment boot camp training model that lasts 15 – 20 weeks for CNC and welding training. The number served can scale up quickly depending on available suitable candidates and manufacturers' needs. JARC's DuPage County training will begin in September 2014. The project will be supply and demand driven.

Part three of the Collaborative is the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing (AIM), which places qualified jobs seekers into open jobs among the 600 manufacturers who are members. These jobs start at $13 to $16 an hour.  Trained applicants have a 95% hire rate.

Together, CCMW, JARC, and AIM make up the Metro West Manufacturing Workforce Collaborative. CCMW will connect good people to good jobs. JARC will train them, and AIM will place those trained into jobs
For the remainder of 2014, CCMW's capacity will be narrow in scope. Over the summer of 2014, it plans to recruit a beginning class of 10-15 candidates for its direct collaboration with JARC. As those students finish training and are placed into jobs, CCMW will fill open training spots with new recruits. CCMW will also serve as many candidates as possible through partnerships with other qualified training facilities in the county. After the first year, similar projects in other parts of the country place 100-150 individuals every 12 months.


  1. When is training available?

    Career Connect will make every effort to connect all potential applicants to a training resource that best suits them, including College of DuPage, Jane Addams Resource Corporation, and others. Each training facility offers training on different schedules and different times of the day.

  2. What courses will be taught by JARC and how long is each training?

    Welding Fast Track – 350 Hours, 14 weeks
    CNC Fast Track – 500 Hours, 20 weeks

    The curriculum is designed for the number of hours shown; however, the programs are open entry/open exit, which means that trainees may advance through the programs at a faster or slower pace, depending on their skill level. The intensity of the program helps to foster a simulated work environment. We hope to run classes 5 hours a day, and 5 days per week to maintain that level of intensity.

  3. When does enrollment for JARC training begin and where will JARC training be located?

    We plan to screen applicants in July and August (DGFUMC is hosting a recruitment meeting on August 26). Evening training starts in September at Technology Center of DuPage, in Addison.  However, recruiting and screening will continue year round per the JARC open entry format. JARC provides classes on a rolling application. Classes are offered as there are enough students to fill them. We are currently negotiating space at a facility in Addison.

  4. What qualifications will I need to be considered for JARC training programs?

    Applicants must be over the age of 18, eligible to work in the U.S. and be low income. The latter is based on household size and income; 99% of people who aren’t working will be eligible. A high school diploma or GED is not required. The only criminal offense that we will not work with is a sexual offense. There is no requirement for previous work history in manufacturing. The main things that we look for are good attitude and reliability.

  5. Will I be guaranteed a spot in JARC training classes?

    No. Applicants will be asked to complete an application, attend an orientation and complete a math and reading assessment. After that, they will be asked to come in for an interview with JARC. We look at the whole person – work history, interest in a career in welding or CNC, criminal background, educational background. We want to know if their family supports them in going to school, if they have a good attitude, if we think they are going to be reliable, etc. After that, we check their references. Then we notify them if they are accepted or denied.

  6. What happens to people who apply to Career Connect for JARC training, but do not meet these minimum qualifications?

    Every effort will be made to find another program that will fit your needs and circumstances.

  7. Are there income restrictions for receiving services at CCMW?

    People of all income levels can receive services from Career Connect, but JARC training is reserved for low income applicants (see above).

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