U.S. manufacturing grows at record level

American manufacturing is growing at its fastest pace in more than a decade. And Rochelle White is one of the reasons that trend is expected to continue.

White, 28, of Chicago, represents the next generation of American workers getting groomed for advanced manufacturing jobs. She is in the final phase of a free, 13-month program at Building Self Determination Industries, which operates a manufacturing company on the city’s South Side, where unemployment and poverty rates are high.

Robotic Training Facility has Grand Opening

Motion Controls Robotics representatives Tim Ellenberger and Earl Raynal Jr were honored to attend the BSD Industries Grand Opening on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at the BSD Industries Manufacturing and Training Facility on the South Side of Chicago. robotic training facility The event was hosted by the Bishop Arthur M. Brazier Foundation which has supported its Chicago community for many years, and is now led by second generation pastor Dr. Byron T. Brazier, head of the Apostolic Church of God in the Hyde Park area of Chicago.

BSD, or Building Self Determination Industries L3C is a Social Enterprise Manufacturing Facility that was the brainchild of Ms. Trista Bonds, a PLC and Controls Engineer and person with a strong Christian faith who has a heart for helping those in her community. In her professional life, Trista has worked for many years on various robotic automation projects with Motion Controls Robotics. A tour of the BSD Robotic Training facility and a review of the workforce development program was led by the honorable Mayor of the City of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel and other local leaders.

How Plastic Cutlery is Bringing Hope, Jobs to a South Side Community

“There’s a great future in plastics.”

That’s a classic line from the 1967 movie “The Graduate.” And some 50 years later, a South Side community is making that prediction come true.

A training program and manufacturing plant are up and running that are not only providing high-demand plastic products but also giving community residents hands-on experience in specialized jobs that are the future of manufacturing.

South Side congregants launch robotics training, plant to generate jobs, hope

Trista Bonds, a robotics engineer, once felt a tinge of guilt for helping companies replace factory workers with machines. Living on Chicago’s South Side, where industries have come and gone, she saw the debilitating effects of unemployment firsthand — drug abuse, poverty, and crime.

So when the pastor of Bonds’ 20,000-member congregation asked people in the pews to help empower the community, she embarked on a 10-year journey of recompense.

Robotics Training Already Leading To Job Offers As Church-Run Factory Opens

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Rev. Byron Brazier, pastor of Woodlawn’s Apostolic Church of God, on Thursday cut the ribbon on a new plastic cutlery factory, but it’s already been helping people get careers working with robots for more than a year.

Building Self Determination, at 9551 S. Cottage Grove Ave., on Thursday started work producing 123 million forks, spoons and knives using high-tech robots, but the program already had been training people to use the robots that will likely move on shortly after the first batch of cutlery is sold.

Woodlawn Manufacturing Facility Training Workers In Robotics

Thursday was the grand opening of a high-tech job training and manufacturing facility in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

Dr. Byron Brazier, chairman and CEO of the Arthur Brazier Foundation, and a pastor, is behind BSD Industries, or Building Self Determination. He called the manufacturing company a social enterprise.

Training workers for jobs in robotics

Inside a plant at 95th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue sit two massive injection molding machines primed to make compostable plastic utensils. They’re also going to make workers.

Dr. Byron T. Brazier’s Mission: Investing in People, Not Buildings

The economic growth of most communities can come from local small businesses, but most growth stems from businesses that employ multiple residents from the area. During a period where Chicago’s inner-city neighborhoods collectively had factories, distribution warehouses and major production plants fueled by the Midwest’s massive rail lines and river carriers—thousands of residents were employed within a few minutes of their homes.

Over several decades much has changed with major businesses moving to the suburbs or overseas, leaving shadows of prosperous communities behind. But as technology has grown and the demand for a younger job force increases—major corporations are returning back to Chicago and to its neighborhoods. With the return of these companies, there is also more demand for an experienced job force to fill many of the jobs that require adequate training and technical skills.

Cutlery Factory To Teach Robotics, Fork Over Profits To Local Schools

The Rev. Byron Brazier of Apostolic Church of God sees a new lifeline for Woodlawn in plastic cutlery.

On Thursday, Brazier will open the Building Self Determination factory at 9551 S. Cottage Grove, one of the largest projects yet of the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation and a $3.5 million bet that there is new life for manufacturing in Chicago.

Robotics is the key to making it happen.

“The technology has replaced people in many cases, and what we’re doing here is to apply people to the technology,” Brazier said. “As opposed to the people doing the work, the robots do the work, but the people maintain the robots.”

JPMorgan Chase investing $40M in Chicago neighborhoods

JPMorgan Chase plans to invest some $40 million over three years in small business assistance, real estate development and jobs training programs in Chicago, to help rebuild some of the city’s most marginalized neighborhoods.

The initiative is the bank’s biggest expansion to date of an approach to economic recovery that it launched in Detroit in 2014, with encouraging results so far. Fortune described the bank’s “Invested in Detroit” program in a cover story in the magazine’s current issue.

JPMorgan Chase investing $40M in Chicago neighborhoods

JPMorgan Chase & Co. says it plans to invest $40 million over three years in neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West Sides to create economic opportunity.

Bank officials said Thursday that poverty, racial and economic inequities, and a lack of opportunity are factors behind Chicago’s gun violence. CEO Jamie Dimon says it is incumbent on business leaders to collaborate with government and the community to develop solutions.

Investments will be used to help offer job training, finance neighborhood revitalization and expand access to credit for small businesses.

JPMorgan Chase investing $40M in Chicago neighborhoods

JPMorgan Chase & Co. says it plans to invest $40 million over three years in neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West Sides to create economic opportunity.

Bank officials said Thursday that poverty, racial and economic inequities, and a lack of opportunity are factors behind Chicago’s gun violence. CEO Jamie Dimon says it is incumbent on business leaders to collaborate with government and the community to develop solutions.

Investments will be used to help offer job training, finance neighborhood revitalization and expand access to credit for small businesses.

JPMorgan Chase Invest $40 Million To Create Economic Growth on Chicago’s South and Westsides

On Thursday, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced a $40 million investment over three years to create economic opportunity in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods on the South and West Sides. A lack of opportunity is a root cause of Chicago’s gun violence, concentrated poverty, and persistent racial and economic inequities, so the firm’s investments will focus on key drivers of inclusive economic growth including jobs and skills development, small business expansion, neighborhood revitalization and financial health.

“Chicago is one of America’s greatest cities, but not every resident shares equally in the city’s economic growth,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase. “It is on us – leaders in business – to step up, collaborate with government and the community and develop solutions where we have resources and expertise to offer. We believe in Chicago’s future and are hopeful our investment will help the city thrive and make opportunity available to every Chicagoan.”

40,000 African Americans left Chicago last year; no jobs a big factor

The mass exodus of African Americans out of Chicago increased last year. The U.S. Census Bureau says 40,000 black residents left town.

Every other group grew in size, especially Latinos.

One big factor: the high unemployment rate among African Americans. A new program hopes to help change that.

After months of hands-on training and classroom instruction, Wesley Mack will soon begin an internship as a robotics technician.

JPMorgan Chase to invest $40 million in Chicago's South and West sides

JPMorgan Chase plans to invest $40 million in Chicago’s historically underserved South and West sides in an effort to tackle the city’s poverty and violence through economic growth.

The three-year initiative by the nation’s largest bank is its second-biggest commitment to a single city, following an infusion of $150 million into Detroit. It amounts to a 50 percent increase in JPMorgan Chase’s philanthropic contributions in Chicago. The bank typically has invested $8 million to $9 million annually.

Chase will pump $40 million into revitalizing the South and West sides

JPMorgan Chase wants to do for Chicago’s South and West sides what it has begun to do for Detroit. The nation’s biggest bank, and also the largest in Chicago, is committing $40 million over the next three years to help rebuild and re-energize parts of the city torn by violence and unemployment.

The program, announced today, is modeled on a larger-scale effort Chase began three years ago in Detroit. There, the bank committed $100 million to a comprehensive program to address Detroit’s economic woes. Earlier this year, Chase boosted that pledge to $150 million to build so-called affordable housing, fund small businesses and train workers.

Chicago is the next chapter in a wholesale revamping of the $250 million Chase spends globally each year on philanthropy. Instead of the traditional, wide-ranging civic support that companies of Chase’s size traditionally have offered, Chase CEO Jamie Dimon decided five years ago to focus nearly exclusively on creating economic opportunity in parts of the country that are badly lagging. “We’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work,” said Peter Scher, Chase’s head of corporate responsibility, in an interview.

JAMIE DIMON: 'There is hope for solving our biggest challenges'

Trista Bonds saw it coming. As a manufacturing and engineering teacher on Chicago’s South Side, Trista recognized early on that traditional manufacturing jobs were going away and that new roles would require more training and education. Naturally, she wanted to make sure her students were prepared to work at factories of the future.

Fast-forward to today. Now, she manages a new robotics training center she designed with the Brazier Foundation helping hundreds of people in a Chicago neighborhood where many don’t have access to living-wage employment or good career paths.

Trista inspires me. She reminds me that there is hope for solving our biggest challenges and helping more Americans get on a path to a better life.

How Four Bankers Helped Launch a Chicago Nonprofit

JPMorgan Chase Service Corps program uses employee expertise to support local efforts to create jobs and invest in the community.

When Tony Chopp landed in Chicago for his JPMorgan Chase 2017 Service Corps experience, what struck him most about the city was its rich history. Unlike his native and sprawling Las Vegas, Chicago is a city steeped in centuries of history, a blanket of tightly connected neighborhoods that span 234 square miles.

The Service Corps program at JPMorgan Chase sends top employees from around the world to work with nonprofits in various cities. It is part of the company’s broader approach to corporate responsibility – which combines philanthropic investments with the skills and expertise of its employees. They share otherwise costly, expert advice on ways to increase the power of the nonprofits’ community impact. Together, Tony and his JPMorgan Chase colleagues – the global Service Corps team (Lucy Brash from the Corporate Investment Bank (CIB) Equity and Capital Markets in New York City, James Tung, from Asset Management in Taipei, and Rajpal Gahlaut from CIB Banking Operations in Mumbai) – would be working to support an organization in one of Chicago’s underserved communities.


Earlier this year, Daniel Czyz, PhD, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Chicago, realized he needed a product for his research that did not yet exist. For help, he turned to the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and to Bronzeville resident Maria Maxwell.

Maxwell, who had recently completed training in computer-aided design and robotics through the Bishop Arthur M. Brazier Foundation in Woodlawn in an effort to launch a second career, was serving as a design consultant at the Polsky Center’s Fab Lab––a suite of state-of-the-art fabrication equipment that is housed at the Polsky Exchange, the Polsky Center’s 34,000 square foot coworking space on 53rd Street.

Since last fall, the Brazier Foundation and the Polsky Center have been partnering to give the foundation’s students real-world design experience while helping to bring the ideas of Polsky Exchange members to life.

With Maxwell’s assistance, Czyz created an adapter plate that was specially sized for microscope chamber slides used in his research.

“I had a lot of experience in science and using research tools, but I had zero experience in designing them,” said Czyz, a 34-year-old postdoctoral scholar in microbiology, who joined the Polsky Exchange two years ago. “Working with the consultant eased my experiment because there is nothing else like that available on the market.”

Maxwell said it took her only two hours to design the adapter plate using measurements Czyz provided. “I was so excited, and nervous at the same time, to be involved in something so important,” said Maxwell, who worked on several design projects during a 15-week consultancy at the Fab Lab.