Cresswood Shredding Machinery, a proud manufacturer of American made industrial shredders and grinders, recently opened its doors to over 40 enthusiastic high school students from the local area. The visit was not just a tour but an immersive experience designed to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world application.

Guided by experienced professionals, the students were given a behind-the-scenes look at every stage of the manufacturing process, from raw material intake to the assembly of the finished products. They witnessed the precision and skill required to operate heavy machinery and learned about the importance of quality control and safety protocols in a manufacturing environment such as Cresswood that manufactures pallet, plastic, wood, and paper recycling shredders. But perhaps most importantly, they had the opportunity to engage with employees who shared their own career journeys, emphasizing the diverse pathways available within the industry.

Many of our employees directly interacted with the students and explained their work and what was important in preparing them for success. Our employee in the fabrication shop, Matt Cornell, explained to groups of students the ins and outs of his job and how his vocational training at Kishwaukee College helped prepare him for a successful fabrication career. It was fantastic for the students to see we have three happy Cresswood employees who have gone through the same curriculum.

The Importance of Skilled Trades in Manufacturing

Manufacturing is the backbone of many economies, providing essential products and creating job opportunities. The bottom line is a vibrant Manufacturing base leads to more R&D, innovation, productivity, exports, and most importantly solid middle-class jobs. Manufacturing helps raise living standards more than any other sector of our economy. Manufacturing generates more economic activity than other sectors, and for every dollar of domestic manufacturing value-added, another $3.60 is generated elsewhere across the economy. For every manufacturing job created, another 3.4 jobs are created in non-manufacturing industries. No other aspect of our economy comes close to these astounding numbers!

Skilled trades professionals are the unsung heroes of this industry, ensuring the machines run efficiently and the products meet the quality standards.


Skills Trade Career Allows for Hands-On Work

If you enjoy working with your hands and solving practical problems, a skilled trades career in manufacturing can be highly fulfilling – especially at a company like Cresswood, an American made world class industrial shredder and grinder company. The fact remains that a traditional four-year degree is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Although the college path is a great choice for many, for a great deal more people it doesn’t align well with their passions and talents. With the cost of a four-year degree has increased well over 180% over the past 20 years, it can also needlessly burden young people in debt while not leading to any sort of fulfilling career. This is a national tragedy and is the result of not promoting the skilled trades as a viable career path where you can support a family and create cool stuff.

Career Advancement Opportunities in Manufacturing

As you gain experience and expertise, there are opportunities for career advancement into supervisory or management roles. Skilled trades careers in the manufacturing industry offer individuals the chance to build fulfilling and rewarding professions. With the right education, training, and dedication, you can become an integral part of an industry that powers economies and shapes the future. Whether you’re interested in working with machines, electricity, or metal, there’s a skilled trade in manufacturing waiting for you to embark on a path of expertise and success.

For many students, this hands-on experience sparked a newfound interest in vocational training and ignited aspirations for a future career in manufacturing. By opening its doors and investing in the next generation of talent, Cresswood Shredding Machinery not only showcased its commitment to craftsmanship and innovation but also played a vital role in shaping the future workforce of America’s manufacturing industry.

“Thank you for having us. The students really enjoyed it. We had a great time and would love to work out future visits.”
– Kevin Nelson, Head Welding Instructor, KEC

Kishwaukee Education Consortium (KEC) partners with:
Dekalb High school
Sycamore High school
Rochelle High school
Hiawatha High school
Genoa Kingston / Gk High school
And Kishwaukee College.

Students from these schools receive dual credit college credits for the courses we offer through a partnership with Kishwaukee College. We had Juniors and seniors from every school listed participate in the tours.