TMA Education Foundation continues to promote mfg to next generation

In 1987, when TMA members foresaw the shortage skilled workers on the horizon, they established the TMA Education Foundation.

Its purpose in establishing the charitable fund, TMA historical papers say, was to utilize private donations from TMA members to promote the manufacturing industry in five related ways:

  1. Expand the pool of qualified entry-level tooling, machining, and manufacturing career candidates available to Chicago area companies;

  2. Improve the image of precision metalworking and manufacturing careers;

  3. Recruit talented men and women for challenging metalworking and manufacturing careers in the metropolitan Chicago area;

  4. Promote and direct the establishment of a tooling, machining, and manufacturing technology training center available to students and employees in the Chicago area;

  5. Reduce the barriers to training and encourage the establishment of quality in-house training programs in Chicago area companies.

With the establishment of the TMA Education Foundation, the members sought “to announce in a loud voice the dawning of a new age in precision metalworking and the need for motivated, innovative, intelligent young people to train for tomorrow’s careers – and the need for improved training facilities and programs in the Chicago area.”


First conceived by TMA Board Chairman Norbert Stengel, the Foundation launched a major fund-raising drive two years later, when the late Egon Jaeggin of Numerical Precision was the TMA Board Chairman.

“It was a proud moment in my term to raise $1.3 million for the Foundation,” Jaeggin recalled in a 2016 interview with TMA News Bulletin. “I had a dream in 1989 that one day TMA would have its own tech center, and 25 years later, here we are…” referring to the current TMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Forty-six years later, the TMA Education Foundation continues its efforts to promote the machining industry.

This year’s TMA SaMM (Small and Midsized Manufacturers’) Dinner registration included a donation to the TMA Education Foundation.

Leigh McConnell, who works directly with high schools to implement the Foundation’s grant program, reports a substantial sum of private support distributed in the 2022-2023 school year to Chicago area high schools promoting machining skills.

The Education Foundation sent five “micro” grants to the following schools:

  • $1,000 to Cary Grove High School to cover the cost of delivering a donated Bridgeport mill to the school

  • $1,000 to Homewood Flossmoor High School to cover the cost of delivering a donated Bridgeport mill to the school

  • $863 to Taft High School to provide basic hand tools and equipment for robotics competition

  • $1,000 to Palatine High School for raw metal material and Haas Tooling for TMA Precision Machining Competition projects

In addition, the TMA Education Foundation responded to larger grant applications from five area high school programs, totaling $103,000 in funding during the 2022-2023 school year:


Check the website for the latest videos and join the ongoing effort to raise funds. Also, read more about the Education Foundation and how to contribute HERE.


Photos below – TMA Education Foundation presented $13,100 to William Taft High School to help purchase two CNC metal cutting routers. Those presenting on behalf of TMA Education Foundation are (L to R) Carol Ebel of Janler Corporation; Tony Schmidt – Taft High Robotics Instructor; John Winzeler of Winzeler Gear; Mark Grishaber – Taft High School Principal; Tom Simeone of Manor Tool.