Celebrate manufacturing excellence

Published October 19, 2023

From race car parts to elephant cages, Kyle Thorne has built it all since he started his own mobile welding business. He’s one of many College of Lake County (CLC) graduates bringing their skills to the world of manufacturing.

Join CLC in a celebration of Manufacturing Month this October.

Lake County is the second largest manufacturing county in Illinois. It’s home to more than 1,000 manufacturers of all sizes that employ nearly 100,000 people.

Job growth is outpacing the number of skilled workers available, and CLC is committed to ensuring a skilled workforce talent pipeline exists to support industry needs and future growth opportunities. In 2022, CLC opened the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Gurnee which is home to welding, fabrication and industrial technology programs.

Thorne was one of the 273 students to take classes at the ATC during its first year. He took welding and fabrication classes at the Grayslake Campus the previous year and greatly appreciated the upgraded space.

“At the ATC, there’s a lot of light and the equipment is the best of the best, some of the best I’ve ever used,” Thorne said.

Even after graduating, Throne’s instructors are still a big influence in his life.

“While I love the space and equipment, it was the instructors that kept me at CLC,” Thorne said. “They helped make sure I learned the right way, and I had fun doing it.”

Welding and Fabrication Instructor Karsten Illg said, “Kyle Thorne is an exceptional example of what we strive for in the welding and fabrication program. In addition to training and teaching students how to safely and correctly weld with various processes, we want them to ultimately transition into the industry. I think his ongoing success with his new mobile-welding company is perfect evidence of his experiences, attributes and education at CLC.”

Still to come this month are the Manufacturing, Engineering and Advanced Technologies Open House from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at the ATC, 7735 Grand Avenue, Gurnee, IL 60031, and the Manufacturing Career Pathways: Training and Employment Options from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Oct. 26 at the Lakeshore Campus, 33 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, IL 60085, or via Zoom. Click here to register for the Oct. 26 event.