The International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest nonprofit professional association for professional economic developers in the world, has selected the Chippewa Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) as a recipient of its 2022 Excellence Award for its collaborative effort in helping establish a non-profit organization called Manufacturing SOS (Supporting Our Schools) Alliance. This partnership between the industry and the non-profit group is aimed at creating an awareness of the increased need for skilled tradespeople and other manufacturing professionals by industry.

Recognized each year during the IEDC Annual Conference, the awards honor organizations for exemplary economic development projects, programs, and collaboration. 25 award categories honor organizations such as CEDC and Manufacturing SOS Alliance and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in communities. “Communities need our profession now more than ever. This year’s awardees exemplify the ingenuity, leadership, and determination needed to meet the challenges of today and the future. The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and demonstrate the level of leadership that our profession strives for every day,” shared IEDC President and CEO Nathan Ohle.

“CEDC’s Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) Programs, surveys, and visits continually show the need for a stronger development of a pipeline of labor in the machine and manufacturing industry.” expressed Charlie Walker President CEO of the (CEDC). “It only made sense to support Wade Latz in his effort to establish an organization that works in a collaborative effort between industry and educational institutions to develop skilled tradespeople and other manufacturing professionals. “

“The primary mission of Manufacturing SOS Alliance is to raise money to market the manufacturing trades and invest in local school districts to improve their technical education programs.  Over the years, many school districts have not been able to fund or keep up with their technical education programs. The Manufacturing SOS Alliance aims to breathe life into an otherwise stagnant or non-existing high school technical education system and reestablish these programs as the primary exposure and marketing outlets for manufacturing occupations.” explained Wade Latz, founder of Manufacturing SOS Alliance.

The mission of Manufacturing SOS Alliance is to enhance enrollments at local technical colleges by increasing interest at the high school level by offering high school tech ed instructors’ bonuses and other incentives (equipment, training, etc.) to accelerate their identification and recruitment of students going into the trades. This unprecedented program increases trade school instructor compensation outside of the traditional school district salary structure and provides the teacher with opportunities to increase their earning potential.

Manufacturing SOS Alliance is one of the first non-profit organizations in Wisconsin that is completely dedicated to fostering interest in the trades at a young age and works to solve the worker shortage in manufacturing over time rather than with a “band-aid” solution. These solutions are extremely important in the world of economic development, as they ensure a future for both the industry and high school trades education. The Manufacturing SOS Alliance project was awarded the CEDC annual partnership in economic development award and thus submitted for the IEDC award.  The IEDC award nomination was judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world. The IEDC received over 500 submissions from the United States and four additional countries around the world.