February 4, 2015

Mayor Emanuel Joins Freedman Seating to Open New Facility

Company’s Expansion Expected to Create 75 New Jobs Over Next Two Years

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Freedman Seating and Alderman Emma Mitts to cut the ribbon at the company’s new office space on the West Side. The business is a multi-generational, family-owned manufacturing company in Chicago.

“Freedman Seating’s continued expansion will create many new jobs for Chicagoans, and this company’s success further highlights the continued growth in Chicago’s manufacturing sector,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I applaud Freeman’s continuing commitment to Chicago’s future -- from their partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing program at Richard J Daley College as part of the Colleges to Careers program to their longstanding relationship with Austin Polytechnic. The company is helping our students and workers develop the skills they need today to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow.”

Two years ago, Freedman Seating was selected to manufacture seats for the new fleet of CTA buses. Back then, they expected to hire 100 workers to meet that demand but ended up hiring twice that amount. With this expansion, Freedman expects to add an additional 75 jobs over the next two years.

Freedman Seating also maintains a partnership with Austin Polytechnical High School to support skills training. In addition, they are a partner with the Chicago City Colleges as part of the College to Careers program and works with the Mayor’s office to support Skills for Chicagoland’s Future.

"I am extremely pleased to welcome Freedman Seating's expansion into the 37th Ward. They've succeeded by investing in their community and by giving back through their partnerships with Austin Polytechnical Academy," said Alderman Emma Mitts. "They will continue to build, grow, and create jobs for the residents of the Austin community."

The Emanuel administration has invested heavily in the next generation technologies required to keep our manufacturers competitive. The Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII) launched with over $320M in investment from the City, private sector and federal government is designed to digitize this important industry.

Since the Mayor took office in 2011, nearly 100 small and medium manufacturers have located or expanded in the City. Over 60,000 people work in manufacturing in the City of Chicago. Manufacturing has long been a driver of employment throughout the neighborhoods of Chicago; in fact, 90 percent of manufacturing jobs exist outside of the downtown area.

Mayor Emanuel also launched the 1,000 Manufacturing Jobs program, which has the goal of increasing the awareness of manufacturing jobs and placing at least 1,000 workers in open positions. The 1,000 jobs will leverage the College to Careers program at Daley College as well as the Workforce Partnership training programs.

Mayor Emanuel also continues to expand opportunities for CPS high school students to receive career-based training in a range of industries, including manufacturing. An elective program beginning in a student’s sophomore year, Career and Technical Education (CTE) offers curriculum aligned with industry standards and provides skills training that reflects the needs of a 21st century workforce. In addition, CTE offers manufacturing internship opportunities for students and serves as a bridge to College to Careers programs. Complementing CTE’s goal of providing relative career training, Chicago City of Learning allows even younger students to gain exposure to manufacturing by participating in the initiative’s badge program and attending city-wide events.