Illinois is one of the only states in the Midwest to have lost thousands of manufacturing jobs this year alone.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois shed about 9,800 jobs while neighbors such as Michigan added thousands.
Mark Denzler, vice president of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, says his group is working with dozens of Illinois companies as part of Manufacturers Month to stir up interest in these careers.
"We continue to provide the largest share of the gross state product," he states. "And so, while there's a lot of folks that think manufacturing's demise is well under way, it continues to be an economic powerhouse and a vital cog in the Illinois economy."
Denzler says while Illinois is lagging behind in job growth in these industries, the state still is home to some of the best paying high-tech manufacturing jobs in the country.
Denzler also suggests that such jobs are important for the state's middle class.
"They average about $70,000 per year with benefits and pay," he points out. "Manufacturing jobs are the types of jobs that allow somebody to support a family, put kids through college."
So, what can be done about Illinois' precipitous manufacturing job loss? Denzler says the Illinois Manufacturers Association is pushing state lawmakers to consider a broader tax base with lower rates.
"We think there's a lot of things that can be done on tax reform, and we certainly think that looking at a sales tax on services is one of things that should be under discussion," he stresses.
A recent report from a watchdog group, the Center on Tax and Budget Accountability, says the service industry makes up about 72 percent of Illinois' economy, but it's not taxed.
Denzler maintains a move to change that could help bring more manufacturing jobs to the state.