Colin Cosgrove and Craig Freedman: Renaissance Men

Colin Cosgrove ’10 came to the United States from Ireland in 1994 and found a job in a Chicago metal fabrication plant. He worked his way up from an entry-level job on the shop floor to sales, design, engineering and management. Now, more than 20 years later, he is president of Laystrom Manufacturing. “When I talk to my employees or people considering working in manufacturing, I can point to what I did and say there’s an upward path in this industry,” says Cosgrove, a School of Professional Studies graduate (see "Dream Big," fall 2007). Since becoming president in 2016, he’s increased his company’s involvement in Manufacturing Renaissance, a Chicago-based nonprofit that helps prepare underserved, at-risk students for jobs in the industry. Since 2011, Manufacturing Renaissance has helped more than 150 students obtain industry credentials through its training and work experience program. Many are still working in the industry. Craig Freedman ’88, president of Freedman Seating, has been involved with Manufacturing Renaissance for nearly a decade and has hired some of the program’s alumni at his company, which makes transportation seating. “We have a severe shortage of skilled people in manufacturing at all levels, so if we can tap into this program and get qualified candidates, it’s really a win for us,” he says.

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