Journal & Topics, by Tom Robb
Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson and other village officials presented Elk Grove High School officials with a check for $100,000 — the third of five such payments — totaling a half-million dollars to support the high school’s advanced manufacturing lab.
The monetary support from the village funds purchases of advanced manufacturing machines such as “CNC” or computer numerical control machines. Those CNC machines can be programmed to take a solid three-dimensional block or flat sheet of metal and cut it into any desired shape within exacting specifications. Programming the machines takes a very specific skill set.
Not only do those coming out of the advanced manufacturing program at Elk Grove High School often come away with certifications to operate such advanced machines, but the high school and business community have also built relationships, which see high school students take internships at companies in the village in which students use the advanced manufacturing machines they trained on.
Johnson has frequently said maintaining a strong qualified workforce is key to keeping those businesses from moving to other areas with a more skilled workforce. He has said those types of jobs can see workers, without a college education, earn six-figure annual salaries, allowing them to purchase homes so they can live and work in the village.
The same day as the village was set to make the donation last Friday, the village also hosted a job fair at the Elk Grove Park District Pavilion, for Elk Grove Village-based businesses to recruit employees. The last such job fair was held in July at Elk Grove High School attracting more than 500 job applicants and more than 100 companies.