NORMAL (WEEK) — Gov. Pritzker on Wednesday announced $15 million to create two manufacturing training academies in Normal and the Metro East area near St. Louis.
The Normal facility will be located at Heartland Community College.
State funds will be met with $4.95 million in matching commitments for capital projects, as well as additional support from employers and regional partners to establish new training academies, according to the governor’s announcement.
Programs are expected to launch later this year, enrolling hundreds of students in the first year of the program. While each program will have a different focus, both will help meet the demand for state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing training downstate, preparing Illinoisans to seize on advanced careers in the manufacturing sector in the years ahead.
At Heartland, a $7.5 million grant from the State will enable the development of the new Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy.
“Community Colleges play an essential role in providing affordable and equitable access to education, and in turn, a pathway to sustainable careers. And partnership is key to building and maintaining the workforce needed to fulfil the promise of innovation in technical education and to grow the economy,” said Heartland Community College President Keith Cornille. “Working with the DECO and Rivian, and our other regional manufacturing partners, we gain key pieces in providing a pathway to a sustainable career for students both coming right out of High School and also those who look to re-enter the workforce. With the new Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy, Heartland Community College will be a hub for innovation, and a resource for those looking for upskilling in a wide variety of occupations.”
This first-of-its-kind EV manufacturing training program is made possible by a partnership with electric vehicle manufacturer, Rivian, which is expected to create an additional 1,600 jobs in the next two years alone.
Matching state funds with a $1.5 million private employer commitment, HCC will develop a new auto shop used exclusively for training for EV manufacturing.
This program will aim to meet growing needs of the region and will prepare Illinois to seize on the rapid growth of the EV industry, with Illinois jobs expected to double by 2024.
“Rivian is honored to have supported the leadership of Governor Pritzker in establishing the Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy,” said James Chen, Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Regulatory Counsel for Rivian. “This project will help prepare local workers for the well-paid, technical jobs that the clean energy transition requires. This project also reflects Rivian’s core values of community empowerment, innovation, and a strong foundation for the continued growth and success of the electric vehicle industry. We thank Governor Pritzker, the Illinois DCEO, and Heartland Community College for making this academy a reality.”
At SWIC, a second $7.5 million grant will create a new manufacturing education hub in Belleville – expanding upon the school’s successful manufacturing training facilities. The Advanced Manufacturing Center will break ground in 2021 and will welcome students into its new facilities by fall 2022.