Each year, the TREP board agrees upon a program of work that brings together the business and education communities to benefit today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce.  Recognizing that the partnerships, the relationships between the schools and the businesses are the highest priority, TREP’s program of work focuses upon programs that build or strengthen partnerships between education and business.  To that end, TREP offers programs for educators and students. The educator offerings are focused upon Smiling woman standin on the top step how business uses STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills to enable educators to bring the “real-world” applications and relevancy to CTE (Career or Technical Education) or science instruction.

Additionally, TREP champions programs oriented for students that enhance the school experience while building students’ skills in the following areas:

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Perseverance
  • Applied S.T.E.M.

Some initiatives for 2024 include leveraging the MFG DAY experience to include a second focused career awareness event at the employer locations, creating a louder voice to support the new ISBE, High School, College and Career Pathway Endorsement for manufacturing, which will be conferred with the 2027 high school graduating class, hosting a series of roundtable discussion, “Educator / Employer Roundtable — Employee Wellness Support in a Post COVID World,” and hosting a regional CTE advisory for schools receiving Perkins funding.

Career Success in the Global Economy Presentation

TREP offers customizable classroom presentations explaining Will County and Grundy County’s employment strengths, its role in the global economy and how technology, impact on careers for the Will and Grundy areas including the skills needed to compete.  (Focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math skill development.)

Counselor Workshops

In partnership with the Regional Office of Education, TREP hosts fall workshops, which are created for high school guidance counselors.  The state education standards assess “college and career ready,” but readiness is more than a PARCC test score.  Rather, readiness requires a combination of academic attributes and skills with a plethora of non-cognitive “soft” skills. Moreover, different careers have different expectations for readiness—One size does NOT fit all.  Additionally, the educator/employer interactions were catalyst for a series of roundtable events, Education/Business Roundtable on Employee Wellness-Post Pandemic.

Participants receive 6.5 PD hours through ISBE, and a light breakfast and lunch are provided.

Education/Business Roundtable Series on Employee Wellness-Post Pandemic

A biannual series of events to learn and discuss the wellness challenges that emerged (or were amplified) during the pandemic and the creative resources that emerged.  Covid relief legislation provided money to help schools provide safe in-person instruction and address the new challenges, which included student mental health.  Resultingly, that funding allowed schools to develop mental health supports and build capacity in their staff.

The roundtable series provides forward thinking employers with opportunities to exchange ideas about scaffolding success for learning and productivity in a post-pandemic world with take-aways for the Generation Z workforce retention and recruitment.  The topics have been:

  1. Employee Wellness-Post Pandemic — Expert panelist (from both education and business) providing information about the post-Covid workforce’s wellness state. (04/2023)
  2. Supporting Success with Employees Impacted by Anxiety and/or ADHD, the two most prevalent disorders (10/2023)
  3. Key Success Factors for Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces (03/2024)


Participation is limited to TREP members.  To participate: 

Making S.T.E.M. Relevant Graduate Course for Educators

Teachers have a special relationship with the subjects they teach. It is this affection and Smiling woman standin on the top stepappreciation that makes them want to share it with their students in rigorous and relevant ways. Each summer, with University of St. Francis, TREP coordinates resources to offer a 3-graduate hour course, for teachers and counselors to explore how science and math content matter is applied in the work world to further expand their ability to engage and motivate student learning.

Save the Date — June 24-28, 2024 is set for the next class to explore how S.T.E.M. content matter is applied in business. 

This course uses the business community to showcase how S.T.E.M. concepts are applied in the workplace and focuses on how the workplace is changing with Industry Internet of Things (IoT), AI, robotics, and automation.  Teachers will go to the businesses, tour the facilities and will have access to speak with technical staff members and executives, for the purpose of gaining real-world applications, lesson extensions, and lesson enhancements for the subjects they teach.

Typical costs for a 3-hour credit graduate course are between $1400 – $3,500.  However, with TREP, the total cost for the 3 graduate credit hour course is only $400.  Learn about enrollment by emailing Gina Korczak at  or calling  815-740-3743.


SAVE the DATE — MFG DAY 2024 is October 8th! TREP is working with TRMA and their education partner, JJC, to create a louder voice for local manufacturing through their MFG DAY event that brings manufacturers, science and technology, and the career pathways together for area high-school students.  For more information … CLICK HERE.

In 2023 (the 8th time,) there were OVER 775 students from 11 area schools in attendance to engage with 150+ volunteers from industry.

  • Aux Sable sponsored Manufacturing Jeopardy: Students competed in a fun, fast paced game of Manufacturing Jeopardy with an experienced panel to learn manufacturing facts from 5 categories: Career Areas, Environment, Education, Jobs, Safety.
  • Areas for Display Case: 2023 boasted 50 displays from 48 manufacturers or related industry organizations and were planning for more.   Each hosted a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) based display to introduce students to careers or engage them in manufacturing.

View 2023 MFG DAY Photos

Manufacturing Career Videos for students

TREP collected and organized career videos for high school students to explore manufacturing related careers organized into types:

    1. Real People Discussing Their Manufacturing Career Choice
    2. Manufacturers Highlighting In-Demand Technology Careers
    3. Cool Industry Related Videos that show the HOW and WHO

To see the videos: CLICK HERE.

Plant or Business Tours

TREP arranges class tours designed for career awareness or work-readiness opportunities. For teachers desiring relevant real-world applications for learning, our advanced manufacturing plants, distribution facilities and healthcare businesses provide real-world applications for most science topics. Teacher Tours can be arranged upon request.

Process Technology Initiative

A certification program for Process Operations Technicians resulted from the collaborative effort between Joliet Junior College and local petrochemical, chemical, and energy generating companies. TREP continues to participate in the roundtable of educators and company leaders to ensure the program provides current, relevant and in-demand job training skills.

Safety POSTER Competition


For the eighth year, TREP invited middle and high school students to create a poster that focuses on SAFETY—recognizing and eliminating safety hazards. The safety topics often span student safety at school, healthy lifestyle choices, appropriate PPE, safe-driving, and more.

The 2024 TREP Safety Competition is made possible by the generous support of:

  • AuxSable Liquid Products
  • CITGO Lemont Refinery
  • Diversified CPC
  • JM Printers
  • JJC
  • Manhattan Mechanical Services
  • Meade
  • NRG
  • Polynt Composites
  • Starcon
  • Stepan

In 2024, TREP recognized 25 high school students and 32 middle school students from over two hundred submissions. Each recognized student received a certificate of achievement, a poster (full sized 16″ x 20″ poster), and a monetary gift.

TREP showcases the winning posters in its Poster Gallery and ENCOURAGES you to download and print any poster for display at your location. TRMA/TREP proudly refreshes its wall art yearly from this competition, as does so many other facilities.

Click to see: 2024 High School Winner

Click to see: 2024 Middle School Winners

To download, double-click on the picture to open an 8×10 sized .png file. This file can be saved and printed in a poster size. If you need a file different format, please contact TREP.

Previous Year Winners:

2023 High School Winner
2023 Middle School Winner
2022 High School Winner

2022 Middle School Winners
2021 High School Winner
2021 Middle School Winners
2020 High School Winner
2020 Middle School Winners
2019 High School
2019 Middle School
2018 High School
2018 Middle School
2017 High school
2017 Middle school
2016 Winners

TREP Regional Manufacturing Advisory for CTE

 Every high school district or career center that operates an Illinois State Board of Education approved Career Technical Education (CTE) program is required have an Industry-Partner Advisory Committee to ensure the education pathways and courses actually prepare students for that industry’s workplace.  To avoid TREP’s business members being asked to serve on multiple districts’ advisory committees, TREP’s high school districts with manufacturing CTE programs and JJC are uniting and are asking TREP’s business members and the TRMA’s board to participate in a single regional manufacturing advisory committee.  A regional approach better leverages the time and expertise of TREP’s business and education partners.  Biannually, TREP hosts a regional manufacturing advisory meeting.  The meetings are intended to be a dialogue to understand what local manufacturing is doing, what education is doing, and how to best align the two for the purpose of creating a pipeline for today’s students to fill tomorrow’s manufacturing jobs.

Participation is limited to TREP members.  To participate: 

Speakers’ Bureau

TREP assists schools by securing speakers for their classrooms and other events. In an effort to address tomorrow’s work force, the speakers’ focus is limited to manufacturing, energy, math and science topics, or work-readiness.

TREP Summer Internship Program

TREP is working to increase the number of summer high school intern placements for those working towards an Illinois State approved manufacturing high school diploma endorsement.  TREP’s role is to create a “louder voice for manufacturing” and bring partners and resources to ensure that the graduating class of 2027 will have the manufacturing endorsement on their diploma.  The endorsement demonstrates a student achievement, as students must earn the endorsement by combining their manufacturing dual credit courses, manufacturing career awareness activities, competitions, and manufacturing work experiences.

Be sure to check for the Summer 2023 intern offerings!

Student Site Visits to provide Job Shadow Opportunities

New in 2024…The schools welcome and support the MFG DAY event, which is recognized as a career exploration activity in the new ISBE, High School, College and Career Pathway Endorsement for manufacturing. Students must complete two career exploration activities.  By leveraging MFG DAY to schedule a second manufacturing exploration activity, an onsite job-shadow visit to TREP businesses, TREP integrates a targeted extension to the MFG DAY learning experience.  Both activities allow students to take a deeper dive into the quality of the companies, the quality and variety of careers, and the supported pathways with a career cluster that can also lead to a possible high school diploma endorsement (e.g., the Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology, and Trades endorsement area can have specific pathways in Manufacturing, Introduction to Engineering, STEM, Architecture and Construction, etc.)

The 2024 pilot will organize the scheduling of students to dedicated Job-Shadow days with TREP businesses.  The host company would introduce the industry and highlight possible career tracks for those pursuing the skilled trades, a certificate/association program, or university program.

Benefits to students:

Benefits to employers:

Join our Partnership

TREP is first and foremost an education-business partnership. All of our initiatives and projects depend on our membership’s engagement with one another.

There is an interrelationship between good schools, good businesses and good communities.

Good Schools, Good Business, Partnership equals Great Community