ICC receives $3 million federal grant for Workforce Sustainability Center

EAST PEORIA (WEEK) — To help maintain the region’s workforce needs, Illinois Central College has received $3 million federal grant for its new Workforce Sustainability Center.

Another $6 million will come from state and local matching funds, according to a release by the U.S. Deptartment of Commerce.

“As shown by the work of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, the Trump Administration is committed to providing workers with the skills they need for good jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “I look forward to seeing how Illinois Central College’s new workforce training center will tailor East Peoria’s workforce to the skills that businesses need.”

The grant is expected to help retain about 2,160 jobs, the release stated.

“A Workforce Sustainability Center will provide our students with an opportunity to build their skillset, prepare for the workforce and support local employers in our community,” said Illinois Central College President, Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “Illinois Central College is committed to fulfilling the needs of our students and ensuring they receive a well-rounded education. Today’s funding will only further that commitment and I thank Congresswoman Bustos for her passion for our students.”

The facility is aimed to enhance central Illinois’ ability to train workers in the skills needed for in-demand jobs.

Elected officials respond to the grant:

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

“This federal funding is an investment in East Peoria’s workforce and economy. As the largest and most affordable sector of the nation’s higher education system, community colleges are uniquely positioned to help close the skills gap, put people back to work, and fill critical shortages at growing businesses and manufacturers.  Senator Duckworth and I are proud to support this federal funding, and will continue advocating for strong investments in Illinois’ communities.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

“Far too many of our nation’s best and brightest are struggling to find good-paying jobs at the same time that many businesses are searching for qualified candidates for their unfilled positions. Investments in our community colleges, like today’s funding for Illinois Central College, can help bridge this divide and prepare more hard-working Americans for 21st Century jobs.”

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood

“Workforce development programs are essential to filling the over 7 million unfilled jobs we have in this country and Dr. Quirk-Bailey and her leadership team at Illinois Central College (ICC) are leading the way in our state to ensure students are prepared to enter into today’s dynamic workforce. I applaud President Trump and his Administration for recognizing this important work that is being done in East Peoria at ICC. This award will provide our community with new workforce development facilities and make certain Illinois’ next generation of workers have the skills they need to succeed.”

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos

“Illinois Central College plays a vital role preparing Peoria-area students for success in the workforce. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, investing in our workforce is a top priority – and these federal dollars will help establish a workforce training center to further the college’s efforts. Students and educators alike will be able to leverage this funding to grow the local economy and build a stronger workforce here in Illinois.”

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