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Illlinois universities team to grow Q.C. manufacturing jobs

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Western Illinois University, the University of Illinois and the QC Manufacturing Lab are working on a partnership to beef up manufacturing jobs in the Quad Cities.

It's part of a Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce initiative to usher in a new era of innovation.

The Mandus Group is a good example. Starting with just two employees six years ago in Rock Island, 45 workers now showcase the best in manufacturing and technology. It's just the kind of combination to build a future in the Quad Cities.

"We see this as a win-win for everybody," said Sam Kupresin, one of the company's founders. "It's doing what it was all intended to do to support our local manufacturing base."

The universities want to take the best in academics and turn it into prosperous local jobs that will build solid careers.

"If you think about the world we're in today, manufacturing is literally the name of the game," said Dr. Robert Easter, president of the University of Illinois.

Making things is part of this region's DNA. That rich manufacturing base and solid workforce remain tremendous assets. Leaders want to tap that potential by growing the area's global manufacturing hub.

While specifics are yet to be worked out, it fits a Quad City Chamber of Commerce initiative to focus on manufacturing jobs.

"With all these universities now, we're starting to deploy those resources in the same direction and for the same common goals," said Paul Rumler, Q.C. Chamber of Commerce.

Supporters say it's time for big ideas, teamwork and collaboration. Collaboration that's designed to grow new jobs in the Quad Cities.

The Mandus Group does a lot of work with the military. Sharing technology with university programs is also a way to help keep the Rock Island Arsenal viable.

"Now we can use each other's equipment and build it together into one larger entity," Kupresin concluded.

A partnership to keep the Quad Cities on the map for manufacturing.