Machining programs at community colleges can bring to mind images of old, tired equipment, housed in even older, drab facilities. That was the case at Richard J. Daley College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. But not anymore.
Today, the college operates the brand-new Manufacturing Technology & Engineering Center (MTEC), housed in a strikingly beautiful new building. The machines are new. The floors sparkle. There’s a light-filled, atrium-like lobby; a colorful, welcoming common space where people can gather; spacious, well-lit and well-equipped labs and classrooms; and a dramatic “high-bay” manufacturing floor, with open space two stories high and large windows that allow natural light to illuminate rows of machines. It also lets people driving or walking by the facility see what’s happening inside. And while the facility’s machines can make high-accuracy parts, they are also producing something else. Hope. A future.
Located in the Ford City neighborhood of Chicago, Daley College, a two-year institution, is named after the legendary Richard J. Daley (father of the more recent mayor, Richard M. Daley), who during his 21-year mayoral reign coined one of the city’s most lasting nicknames: The City That Works.
MTEC is a school that works. It works at developing creative solutions to serve its community and establish unique programs and flexible scheduling for students who may need a helping hand to get started, young people who may become valuable manufacturing workers.