TMA Education Foundation effort underway to develop high school skills programs

TMA Education Foundation supports the Next Generation of Manufacturing Leaders

SCHAUMBURG – The Technology & Manufacturing Association is a 98-year-old institution that formed in response to needs Illinois manufacturers were facing in the mid 1920s. Over time, the group of entrepreneurs and manufacturing visionaries saw a need to promote the manufacturing industry and encourage young people to consider careers in the industry. 

In response, the association – then called the “Tool & Die Institute”- designed and launched an effort to train and educate career seekers. The popularity grew over the years as more and more employers realized the value of advancing their own employees’ skills. The training concept took off, and TMA developed what is now known as its unique “gold standard” of training and education. 

But it wasn’t long before TMA saw the value of encouraging exposure to machining skills needed for manufacturing careers earlier in their lives. They decided to begin encouraging high schools to consider opening machining labs as career tracks beginning during secondary education years. TMA’s Education Foundation began raising funds for the expressed purpose of assisting high schools in upgrading their facilities, paying for needed machines upon which to train and various other pertinent needs. 

TMA’s training program served the industry well for years, and then the universal emphasis on college education rather than skills learning began to take effect, and many high schools lost interest in hands on training.

But now that’s changing – drastically.

As more and more high school age students are beginning to wonder about the long-range value of going into debt in order to pay for college educations, the door is opening once again for the manufacturing industry to step up and offer an alternative: a skills education that leads to productive and lucrative careers in manufacturing and technology. And to boost with TMA’s programs, training that their employers willingly fund, alleviating the students’ of debt stress while providing jobs and launching careers.

The movement is leading to a revival of manufacturing, along with a renewed emphasis and appreciation of US manufacturing after the COVID pandemic exposed the nation’s skills weaknesses along with the global supply chain strains. 

TMA spoke with four different high schools in the Chicago area that the TMA Education Fund assisted with financial grants – and heard from principals, instructors and students that are excited and appreciative of the Education Fund’s help. 

The videos of these conversations (in the right hand column) are encouraging, exciting and even inspirational. 

For more information about TMA’s Education Fund, and how you can contribute, see 

More to come … 

By Fran Eaton, editor