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More than $400,000 pledge to ICC ‘Workforce Equity Initiative’

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PEORIA (WEEK) - Illinois Central College announced Wednesday they're intention to provide 120 individuals, mostly African-American and low income, education, training, and good paying jobs.

"The Gilmore Foundation recently contributed a generous $435,000 grant to implement the initiative. One third of the amount will be received in the form of matching funds," ICC wrote in a press release.

The three year program will admit 40 individuals each year. After completing the the program designed to boost the manufacturing workforce in Central Illinois, participants will be in line to get a full time job paying at least 30 percent above the regional living wage.

The program is open to any applicant, however, 2/3 of those accepted must be African-American or from low income homes.

“We are fully aware of the need to revitalize manufacturing here in Central Illinois and are committed to making it happen through community partnerships,” shared ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “Today’s manufacturing worker requires a high-skill credential, which will provide a high-demand career with a family-sustaining wage. Earning that credential will not only change the trajectory of the individual’s lives, but also the lives of their families while growing the workforce, expanding manufacturing, and revitalizing the regional economy.”

The Regional Workforce Alliance is working to keep manufacturing jobs here in the Heart of Illinois instead of being outsourced.

"In many cases they'll leave the united states because there are others out there that can provide the labor. In other cases it'll go to another region of the country. So that's another reason this is so critical for us in this region to fill that gap," explained Doug Oberhelman the Chairman of the Gilmore Foundation.

“Gilmore Foundation is committed to job creation through projects which assist in the development of our community’s infrastructure. We are proud to invest in a movement to revitalize manufacturing in Central Illinois, while simultaneously transforming adults of color and poverty into credentialed manufacturing professionals,” said Gilmore Foundation President Laura Cullinan. “Our hope is that this matching grant will spark a unified giving effort in our community to invest in training and retaining talent in the tri-county area.”

Interested individuals can apply at or call (309) 690-7600. Additional information is available at Interested manufacturers looking to join the revitalization movement and sponsor a student can contact the ICC Educational Foundation at

Kyle Beachy

Kyle Beachy is a Multimedia Journalist for 25 News and Heart of Illinois. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he studied Education and played baseball. He comes to us from Columbus, Ohio where he received a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University.

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