Southwestern Illinois College receives $7.5 million from Illinois for manufacturing training academy


(Photo credit JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)

BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) is one of two new sites to offer manufacturing training academies with a $7.5 million grant from Illinois.

It is part of Governor JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois plan. He made the announcement Wednesday with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Heartland Community College and Rivian.

The other site will be at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois. The two sites are receiving a total investment of $15 million from Illinois. In addition to those funds, $4.95 million will be committed to capital projects and “support from employers and regional partners to establish new training academies.”

Students will begin enrolling in these programs later this year.

“Today is just one indicator of the job and skills growth our state is seeing. Workforce investments like those we’re announcing here foreshadow even more good jobs we can fill in the future,” Pritzker said.

These programs will help prepare “Illinoisans to seize on advanced careers in the manufacturing sector in the years ahead.”

“As the electric vehicle industry and other advanced manufacturing roles see increasing demand – in Illinois, we are preparing to seize those jobs, with investments made across our communities and to maintain our state as a top destination for companies to grow and invest,” Acting Director of the Illinois DCEO Sylvia Garcia said. 

 In 2021, SWIC’s Advanced Manufacturing Center will break ground. They plan to welcome students by fall 2022. The first of the two phases of this project is to create a new precision machining pathway. The second phase aims to expand career training in industrial electricity and welding manufacturing.

When complete, a 31,100 square foot lab space will have new computers and other equipment. The grant will also help to allow for a diverse recruitment program.

“One of Southwestern Illinois College’s primary goals is to train students for well-paying, highly skilled, in-demand career fields, and the construction of a manufacturing training academy will bolster these efforts,” SWIC President Nick Mance said. “In light of the unemployment rate and economic distress in the area, it is more crucial than ever that students embark on a viable career pathway that leads directly to steady employment paying a living wage or better.”

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