IMA, EdSystems Launch New Scholarship to Strengthen Manufacturing Talent Pipeline

For the first time, the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association (IMA) Education Foundation, in partnership with Education Systems Center at NIU (EdSystems), is offering a scholarship to Illinois students who graduate high school having earned the College and Career Pathway Endorsement in manufacturing and is currently enrolled or in the process of enrolling in an Illinois community college or university for advanced manufacturing, welding, or engineering. This $500 scholarship can be put towards tuition, fees, textbooks, room, board, school supplies, job training equipment, and uniforms, or other barrier reduction costs that arise. The scholarship awards will be sent directly to students upon postsecondary enrollment or, if necessary, to the awardee’s postsecondary institution in the fall of that academic year.

“Students who earn the College and Career Pathway Endorsement undertake significant early college work and meaningful work-based learning opportunities, and we are confident these individuals will be an asset for the manufacturing industry in Illinois,” says Sarah Hartwick, IMA Vice President of Education & Workforce Policy and IMA Education Foundation Executive Director.

“This is especially advantageous for school districts in our Scaling Transformative Advanced Manufacturing Pathways (STAMP), which helps communities build streamlined pathways in a high-need industry,” says Juan Jose Gonzalez, Pathways Director at EdSystems. “STAMP is focused on increasing secondary enrollment in manufacturing pathways, increasing the number of students who complete a College and Career Pathway Endorsement or industry credentials, and increasing matriculation into postsecondary manufacturing programs and the workforce.”

Student Eligibility

The scholarship is open to any Illinois high school senior on track to earn the College and Career Pathway Endorsement in manufacturing or an Illinois high school graduate from the Class of 2022 who earned a College and Career Pathway Endorsement in manufacturing on their diploma or transcript. Applicants must plan to attend a regionally accredited two- or four-year institution of higher education in Illinois by fall 2023 and pursue a postsecondary credential or degree in a manufacturing pathway. The scholarship is open to DACA students/DREAMers.

Interested students can now apply with the following:

  • Letter of recommendation from a high school administrator or teacher who can confirm participation in the manufacturing pathway and the student’s status toward earning the endorsement.
  • A 500-word (maximum) essay or 2-minute audio and/or video recording answering the question: What made you interested in a career in manufacturing?
  • A 2-minute video recording or presentation showing a METT project or item created.

Students selected for the scholarship must submit a final copy of their high school transcript or diploma and proof of postsecondary enrollment before receiving funds.

Introduction Webinar

Watch the recording from the March 27, 2023, introduction webinar, sharing how school districts and colleges can support students in applying for the scholarship.

Contact Information

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Sarah Hartwick or Juan Jose Gonzalez.

About the IMA Education Foundation

The IMA Education Foundation, established in 1990, serves IMA member companies by taking the leadership role in bringing Illinois’ private sector ideas and support together with Illinois leaders and educators to provide more accountability and excellence in education.

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