CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker recognized Hispanic Heritage Month and Manufacturing Month by visiting multiple businesses across Chicago. He began by joining Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Latinx Business Development Manager, Diana Alfaro, for three small business stop-bys on Chicago’s Southwest side.

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“Here in Illinois, we value our Latinx business-owners and their many cultural and economic contributions,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re honoring the small businesses in Chicago who are not only creating jobs, but having immeasurable positive impacts on our communities.”

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month which is celebrated September 15- October 15, Governor Pritzker visited the following Hispanic-owned businesses:

  • Teatro Tariakuri: A nonprofit community arts established in 2004 by Karla Galvan that has created a theatrical venue focused on creativity and contemporary theater and dance techniques rooted in Latino culture. The theater serves families from Chicago Lawn, Marquette, Englewood, and surrounding communities.
  • Chicago Heat Pet Shop: A newly opened pet supply store that launched with support from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
  • New Star Lighting: A local LED lighting manufacturer located in Chicago's McKinley Park that significantly expanded during the last few years and has a 90 percent Latino workforce.

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Later, Governor Pritzker joined representatives from the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association (IMA) and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) for the final stop on their “Makers on the Move” bus tour. The tour involved visits to manufacturing facilities across nearly 2,000 miles in Illinois to celebrate Manufacturing Month (October).

“As Governor, I am consistently focused on training and building out our already top-tier manufacturing workforce,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “In this new facility, 275 Illinois workers make quality protective clothing and safety apparel for members of the military, first responders, and industrial workers. National Safety Apparel is exactly the kind of manufacturing company that we are proud to have resident here in the Land of Lincoln — and I couldn’t be more grateful for the IMA’s advocacy in making this facility a reality.”

The final stop on the bus tour was National Safety Apparel—a Chicago-based manufacturing business that specializes in protective clothing for military, first responders, and industrial workers. Governor Pritzker was joined by Mark Denzler, President and CEO of Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, for a tour of the Chicago production facility, which is the largest manufacturer of American-sewn safety apparel.

“We’ve had an incredible week traversing the state to spotlight the innovative products made in Illinois and spread the word about the fulfilling career opportunities available in the industry,” said Mark Denzler, President & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “From building state-of-the-art aircraft, creating award-winning sauces, producing life-saving pharmaceuticals, and making daily necessities like aluminum foil and cleaning products – our state’s manufacturing industry makes the world a better place to live every single day. We thank Governor Pritzker and the many lawmakers, economic development officials and educators who joined us at stops along the way to celebrate the past, present and future of Illinois manufacturing.”

“I am truly inspired by the incredible journey from the heart of southern Illinois to the bustling energy of Chicago and everywhere in between,” said David Boulay, PhD, President of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center. “It has been an amazing experience witnessing the strength and innovation that defines our state’s manufacturing landscape. As we come together for the final day of celebrations at UESCO Cranes and National Safety Apparel alongside esteemed leaders such as Governor Pritzker, President Preckwinkle and a multitude of manufacturing champions, we celebrate not just success, but the enduring spirit that propels Illinois forward as a manufacturing powerhouse.”

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