Illinois manufacturing official says sector in for drastic changes soon



(The Center Square) – An Illinois manufacturing official says the state is properly positioned to take advantage of the ever-changing manufacturing sector.

During a University of Illinois Extension webinar, Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center President David Boulay said Illinois should be a leader in all phases of manufacturing.

“Illinois is just a manufacturing powerhouse regardless of what measure you want to look at,” Boulay said. “We’re pretty much a top 5 state whether it’s output, whether it’s jobs or the number of establishments.”

According to the Illinois Manufacturing Association, 14% of the state’s economy is made up of manufacturing jobs, totaling 60,000 across the state.

Boulay said this is a unique time in history for the manufacturing sector.

“It is a manufacturing supercycle,” Boulay said. “I’m going to go with that word, because I think we are in an 8 to 10 year window with this powerhouse of Illinois manufacturing just like everywhere in the United States resetting itself in due fashion and due form and in their great opportunity.”

Boulay said it is unlikely we will see the supply chain issues that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think what came out of the pandemic was not as much of ‘just in time’, rather let’s see how much inventory we can put on the shelf,” Boulay said.

Boulay said supporting and strengthening manufacturing through legislation like the CHIPS Act, which provides a 25% tax credit to semiconductor producers to work in the U.S. instead of China, is one step in the right direction to assure national security.

Boulay took part in a statewide tour this summer of Illinois manufacturers.

Mark Denzler, president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, said the “Makers on the Move” tour is a chance to showcase the manufacturing industry and the broad spectrum of opportunities for high schoolers, adults and college graduates.



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