June 2018

Emerging Leaders Under 40

Diana Peters, Executive Director at Symbol Training Institute was named one of the talented emerging leaders under 40 for 2018! Young professionals are a vital asset to the precision machined parts industry, and it is important to acknowledge those who are making strides toward shaping the industry’s future.   is recognizing our industry’s young talent who were nominated by their peers through our new Emerging Leaders program.    (scroll to picture #14 for Diana Peters)... Read More
December 2017


Tom Peters, Director of Workforce Development at Symbol Training Institute, was proud to participate in the Emerging Leaders training program sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA).  This is the 10th year that the SBA Illinois District Office has hosted the executive education series.  The program helps to connect small business owners with a network of industry peers and experts, then fosters the creation of a three year strategic growth action plan.  The graduates from the c...... Read More
November 2017


Breaking Perceptions. Building Possibilities   Dedicated individuals across Illinois are working each day to improve lives, create stronger  communities, and disrupt the idea of aging.  As champions of leadership, they truly represent that aging is about growth, creating new opportunities, and being there for the neighbors in their communities.     Leveraging 40 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, Alex Kogan founded Symbol Training Institute to provide the specialize...... Read More
August 2017

Voyage Chicago Features Diana Peters, Executive Director of Symbol Training Institute

Diana, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?   Symbol Training Institute evolved out of Symbol Tool, a tool and die shop that was founded over three decades ago. I serve as the Executive Director/Founder of Symbol Training Institute, a post secondary career and technical hands-on advanced manufacturing training facility in the Chicagoland area. I lead Symbol’s initiative to combat the skilled labor shortage by providing superior hands-on training and job ...... Read More
April 2017

Tammy Duckworth Congratulates Diana Peters on Step Ahead Award

Tammy Duckworth congratulates Diana Peters, Executive Director at Symbol Training Institute on her STEP Ahead Award received in Washington DC in April 21, 2017.... Read More
March 2017

Money Talks: Exploring Women’s Relationship with Money – Featuring: Diana Peters

At DyMynd we focus on a woman’s relationship with money to break down the barrier for financial empowerment. Money has culturally been a taboo subject and we have found that women are told not to talk about it in public. This leads women to feel uncomfortable about their finances and uneasy to share their stories and experiences.   This year it is important that we breakdown these barriers so that we can all rise and stand together. DyMynd wants to bust the myth that “money isn’t for...... Read More
January 2017

Symbol Offers Hands On Manufacturing Training in SPANISH

Symbol is the permier choice for Spanish Speakers who want to enter and succeed in the Manufacturing Industry. Classes are taught in Spansih in a machine shop setting.  Hands on training.... Read More

Don't Take Rejection Personally

Symbol Training Institute is an advanced manufacturing school that was created to help companies improve their current workforce, or help educate and train beginners in manufacturing. Diana Peters, owner and executive director, shares the story of how the company has evolved from just a tool and die shop to the largest manufacturing training school in the Chicago area. Peters shares that she focuses on the quality of the service, as well as the customers, so both her students and the companie...... Read More
December 2016

Women of Excellence in the Metalforming Industry

Institute, Diana leads its initiative to combat the skilled-labor  As the executive director and founder of Symbol Training shortage by providing hands-on training (including NIMS credentialing) and job placement, and strongly advocates for women's equality in manufacturing by promoting the profession to women and employing several female instructors to assist in her efforts. In addition, Diana sits on U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth's National Manufacturing Advisory Council and ha...... Read More
November 2016

Small Business Owner Took a Leap: Symbol Training Institute

Entrepreneur Diana Peters believes that success in business requires a delicate balance of embracing risk and preparing for it. “Jumping into the water without knowing how to swim and no flotation device is not a wise decision,” she said. “You need to plan how you’re going to get to the other side.”
More than a decade after starting her business, Symbol Training Institute, Peters has seen that strategy pay off. Peters, who grew up in Skokie, Ill., where Symbol is based, was working as an at...... Read More

Looking Abroad to Solve Manufacturing Skill's Gap

A recent trip to Germany hammered home for Thomas Peters, a workforce development executive, just how differently that country handles training for the next generation of factory workers. Peters helps run  in Skokie, which teaches computer numerical control machining to students. (His wife  ) Earlier this month he joined a 15-person delegation to the European nation that comprised manufacturers, academics and economic development professionals all tied to metalworking. The goal: Meet with...... Read More
August 2016

Skokie Training School Places People to Work!

Symbol Training Institutes prepares students for REAL manufacturing jobs. Symbol holds a job fair with hundreds of unemployed individuals and a room filled with manufacturing compani9es willing to hire on the spot!... Read More
March 2016

Diana Peters featured in Colibri's 'Breaking The Steel Ceiling'

Colibri Spindles, 'The Metalworking Innovators,' recently featured Symbol's Executive Director, Diana Peters, in 'Breaking The Steel Ceiling: Women Prove Themselves in the CNC Manufacturing World.' Symbol is thrilled to be doing our part to lessen the gender gap in the manufacturing field,  however the numbers speak for themselves. Let's all do our part to introduce as many women to the manufacturing workforce as possible!... Read More
February 2016

#1 in NIMS Credentialing

Symbol is once again the #1 ranked National Institute of Metalworking Skills ( NIMS ) credentialing provider with 26% of all  NIMS  credentials in Illinois being earned by Symbol's students. We are also proud to be a top producer of NIMS credentials in the nation for the second year in a row.  We continue to provide qualified and credentialed graduates to our manufacturing workforce.... Read More
April 2015

Daily Herald Honors Symbol as 2015 Educator of the Year

Symbol Training Institute was honored to receive an award at the Daily Herald Business Ledger's 25th Annual Awards Ceremony for Business Excellence. The AABEs, given for business achievement, growth and community involvement, are presented to outstanding businesses and non-profit organizations with a significant presence in the suburban circulation area of the Daily Herald Business Ledger (DuPage County, Fox Valley, NW Cook County, Lake County, West Cook County, Southwest Cook County and Will...... Read More
January 2015

Filling Factory Jobs through Temporary Staffing Agencies the New Normal

"(Manufacturers) want to try before they buy," said Tommy Peters, director of business operations at Symbol Training Institute, a school based in Skokie that trains machinists and quality control technicians. Outsourcing to staffing agencies hides declines in manufacturing pay because staffing workers' wages are not counted as part of the industry, according to a report released Friday by the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group. The report found that 1 out of every 4 ...... Read More
August 2014

How she's working to narrow skill and gender gaps in manufacturing

Growing up, Diana Peters hung out with her dad, Alex Kogan, at his Skokie tool and die shop, Symbol Tool Inc. When they saw a growing shortage of skilled workers to operate advanced systems to run the machines that produce parts, they founded Symbol Training Institute, a for-profit vocational school. Opened in 2005 in the original shop, Symbol teaches workers on computer numerical control (CNC) machines and has expanded in new locations in Skokie and Addison. Peters, the institute?s executive...... Read More

Symbol in Addison is Officially NIMS ACCREDITED

It is with great pleasure that NIMS announces the recent accreditation of the Advanced Manufacturing Program at Symbol Training Institute in Addison, IL. Officially accredited as of August 15, 2014, the staff and faculty at Symbol have met NIMS standards and will continue to set the bar for exceptional metalworking training for post-secondary and adult education in the state of Illinois.... Read More
July 2014

Symbol Featured on an EdgeFactor Episode of Launchpoint

"Big Attitude After she moved to Chicago from Puerto Rico, Anginette Lopez spent nearly a decade frustrated and exhausted while she was stuck in the corporate world. After she was laid off, she took it as an opportunity for a new beginning. At the unemployment office, she heard about CNC machining. Not knowing anything about careers in manufacturing, she spent 2 months researching different careers in the industry and the training centers that would equip her with the skills she would need....... Read More
March 2014

Reflejos Newspaper Article: Formacion Especializada

Symbol was featured in Reflejos, a Spanish newspaper part of the Daily Herald in DuPage County.... Read More

Symbol Student Acclaimed as CNC Superstar

Tyler graduated from Lake Community High School in the Spring of 2013. He had already visited Symbol with his father some months before. He enjoyed working on projects with his hands and had felt drawn to the manufacturing field. Working with machines and getting the sense that he was creating products of value was a major appeal to him. He was actually still only 17, and waited reluctantly for his 18th birthday before he could enroll in courses at Symbol. Tyler started CNC 303 in July. He pa...... Read More

Addison Chamber of Commerce Features Symbol

"In late 2013, the Symbol Training Institute expanded to include an 8,000-square-foot Addison location in the heart of DuPage County?s strong industrial community. "... Read More
February 2014

Tom Peters of Symbol: The Skills Gap Problem Remains an Epidemic

"A fascinating interview with Tom Peters of Symbol Training Institute on the Skills Gap Issues and what is being done to solve the problem. DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM THE SHOW: -Tom gives us a State of the Union in the training industry. -We last spoke to Tom in November of 2012, and we asked if the skills gap is still a major problem. -The workforce is greying u what impact is that having on the workforce as a whole? -Is the manufacturing industry becoming more mainstream?"... Read More
January 2014

Symbol LIVE on the Tastytrade Network featuring Diana Peters

Tom and Tony from Tastytrade Network talk with Diana Peters of Symbol Training Institution on their LIVE show, Bootstrapping in America. Diana Peters is the Director of Symbol Training Institute. She leads Symbol's initiative to combat the skilled labor shortage by providing superior hands-on training and job placement through the institution.... Read More
December 2013

Crain's Business Chicago 2013 40 Under 40 Class, DIANA PETERS

"Meet Chicago's next generation of leaders, which include Symbol Training Institute's Executive Director, Diana Peters. Since Crain's launched its annual 40 Under 40 feature in 1989, nearly 1,000 up-and-coming Chicagoans have earned the title. Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rahm Emanuel, Billy Corgan, Lisa Madigan, Nate Silver, Grant Achatz, Alpana Singh and Mary Zimmerman have shared the glory. Now it's time for another batch of innovators and instigators, entrepreneurs and educators to take ...... Read More
August 2013

Skokie school trains for advanced manufacturing jobs

"Two years ago, they moved Symbol from its 3,000 square-foot home across the street to a new 11,000 square-foot building. Tour the facility on the east end of Skokie today and one myth is immediately dispelled. The three oD?so become the three oS?so when examining the shop floor: spotless, spacious and state-of-the-art. "... Read More

Manufacturing a New Career, Pg. 5

National Able Chicago referred Anthony Irle to Symbol Training Institute for CNC Hands On Training. Prior to graduating from his 4 month course, Symbol helped find Anthony a great job at a manufacturing company in Carol Stream, IL. He loves his job and is grateful for the opportunity he received.... Read More

Symbol speaks at NCLR Annual Conference in New Orleans

"Symbol Training Institute, along with Erie Neighborhood House, was asked to speak at the NCLR Annual Conference in New Orleans on July 23, 2013, where First Lady Michelle Obama was the key note speaker. Press Release: Discover how a nonprofit organization and a private training program can partner to develop fast track careers for Latinos in advanced manufacturing. Erie Neighborhood House and Symbol Training Institute will discuss their unique and successful partnership. "... Read More
June 2013

Reps. Quigley, Schneider: STEM Education Key to Growing Manufacturing

Symbol's Executive Director, Diana Peters, sat in as U.S. Congressmen Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Brad Schneider (IL-10), in honor of National Small Business Week, hosted a roundtable discussion with local manufacturing and education leaders to discuss the critical role science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education plays in the growth of manufacturing.... Read More
May 2013

Hands-On Manufacturing Training for Women

"Through a four-month training program, Symbol offers small class sizes with enthusiastic and experienced instructors and industry professionals, two of them currently being women. Symbol is employer driven and has a 90 percent placement rate. The school works directly with manufacturing companies to place its students into high-paying, high-demand jobs."... Read More
April 2013

Peters on Changing The Image of Manufacturing-Video

Diana Peters, executive director of Symbol Training Institute, talks about getting young people to realize that manufacturing is a ogreat career.o... Read More

Excerpt from Diana Peters, Executive Director, Symbol Training Institute

We definitely encourage manufacturing companies to open their doors up and have younger kids u high school, even junior high children u come in and tour the facility. They?ll see it?s not their great-grandfather?s shop. It?s not dark, dirty and dingy anymore.... Read More
January 2013
November 2012

Manufacturing Revival Radio

Our Director of Business Operations, Tom Peters, was featured on Manufacturing Revival Radio.... Read More
October 2012

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky Supports Symbol

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky visits Symbol Training Institute and supports their manufacturing school.... Read More

Symbol Presents at NCLR Workforce Development Conference in LA

"Symbol presented at the 2012 NCLR Workforce Development Conference in LA. Erie House and its partner Symbol Job Training are able to offer true career pathways to their participants. Learn about avoidable pitfalls and misunderstandings that can occur when starting your bridge program, and hear recommendations for staffing, assessment, recruitment, collaboration, and networking within the industry of interest."... Read More
September 2012

Symbol Presents at Technologic Event

Symbol presented at the 2012 Sandvik Technologic Event... Read More

A Manufacturing History Lesson

oThe stereotype is that factory jobs require a lot of heavy lifting,o explains Diana Peters, who runs Symbol Job Training, a manufacturing trade school, with her husband. But Peters believes that these stereotypes are outdated. oIt?s the complete opposite. So much of manufacturing today is high-tech and computerized. Women can do these jobs and be very successful.o... Read More

Symbol at the NIMS Student Skills Center, IMTS 2012

"Our Director of Business Operations, Tom Peters, was interviewed for IMTS TV during the 2012 IMTS show. Interview with Tom begins at the 3:02 mark. Make sure to listen!"... Read More

Manufacturing-Not Just a Man's Job

"April Senase is at the front end of a potential job boom: women in manufacturing. Senase, 35, is a trailblazer. She has worked numerous factory jobs for 13 years -- often as the first, or only, woman on the production floor. She makes nearly $40 an hour, with overtime, in her day job running high-tech machinery at a factory that makes specialized industrial parts. And in March, she took a second job as the first female instructor in computer-aided machining at Symbol Job Training Inc., a tra...... Read More
August 2012

Training and Developing Student Skills

"Symbol was featured in Modern Machine Shop Magazine. Symbol Job Training is part of this year?s IMTS Student Skills Center. Lead by executive director Diana Peters, the for-profit CNC training institute started out in the ?80s as a tool and die operation. But in 2006, it reinvented itself as a training provider, turning its CNC production equipment into instruments for hands-on training."... Read More
July 2012

Train Up

Cutting Tool Engineering featured Symbol and their students.... Read More
May 2012

520 Machinery Sales is working with Chicago-based Symbol Job Training Inc.

"As a result, 520 Machinery Sales is working with Chicago-based Symbol Job Training Inc., to provide students with the educational skills they need for programming, setup and operation of Doosan machines. The educational organization works on building partnerships between businesses and students while providing hands-on training and education in the field of computer numerical controlled machine-tool products, according to Tom Peters, Training Director of Business Operations for Symbol Job Tr...... Read More

How a Chicago Technical Institute is Solving a Labor Shortage Problem

"Brandon Holmes makes the hour-and-a-half drive from his northwest Indiana home to Skokie twice a week in hopes of jump-starting his career. The 34-year-old father of two found himself searching for something more lucrative than his current gig doing audio and video work for nightclubs and bars, and chose manufacturing as his next calling. ""This industry has great benefits,"" he says of his foray into the production sector."... Read More
January 2012

Changing Gears: new Jobs Demanding new Skills

"Symbol was featured on NPR WBEZ's (91.5 FM) Changing Gears Segment Symbol Job Training is a for-profit school in Skokie, just north of Chicago. The school focuses on training machinists in CNC u those machines are the standard on factory floors these days."... Read More

Great Skills Expected for Manufacturing Jobs

"Symbol Job Training is a for-profit vocational school north of Chicago. It mostly teaches students what's known as computerized numerical control -- CNC. It runs most machines on today's factory floors. In this class, students learn CNC programming. John Zawojski says he hopes the course will help get him out of his current warehousing job. John Zawojski: I was making pretty good money in my last job -- got laid off. I haven't been able to find that kind of pay anywhere else, so I got i...... Read More

A Machinist's Education

Alex Kogan's school in Skokie is hoping companies will pony-up the tuition money for students or that it can hook into State and Federal money that?s out there. Veterans are also eligible for training funds.... Read More
May 2011

Community Conversation: Manufacturing

Down the line, vocational educators like Diana Peters of Symbol Job Training and human resources executives like Katie Lawler of GATX said high-level skilled labor was in demand -- and a place where gaps remain.... Read More
February 2011

Worker Benefits Slated to Expire

Symbol and one of it's students were featured in the front page of Chicago Tribune Business Section.... Read More

Beating the Odds: Elizaro Perez, pg. 8

Elizaro Perez was referred to Symbol Training Institute in Skokie, IL by his case worker at National Able. With the skills he was taught at Symbol, Elizaro was hired at a well known company, Rexam Corporation in the northern suburbs, and even signed a 3 year agreement with them. Symbol Training Institute provided Elizaro with a better life and he is forever grateful.... Read More
June 2010

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About Symbol Training Institute

Symbol Training Institute exists to help individuals achieve professional and career success through targeted, quality education. Our classes are created with one goal in mind - to prepare students for the workforce by giving them the skills they need to find and retain employment. Our exceptional teaching staff, specifically designed programs and hands-on training all combine to make us the leader among post-secondary education institutions. Read more →