OGLESBY — Illinois Valley Community College will receive a significant share of the state’s nearly $13 million in federal funding to spur advanced manufacturing training, according to IVCC President Jerry Corcoran.
IVCC joined other community colleges in forming the Illinois Network of Advanced Manufacturing (INAM) consortium. The consortium, led by Harper College in Palatine, learned of the grant award recently.
The funding, possibly as much as $500,000 will expand cutting edge educational programs in high-wage, high-demand fields, said Corcoran who has been speaking to civic groups across the district this fall about IVCC’s ability to provide the skills needed in today’s sophisticated manufacturing environment.
“This grant will allow our students to earn successive levels of manufacturing-recognized credentials, which makes our graduates even more industry-ready,” said Corcoran.
Part of the $2 billion federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, the funding will allow IVCC to purchase precision machining equipment and mechatronics trainers for the Peter Miller Community Technology Center. Mechatronics represents a new IVCC program that combines aspects of mechanics, electronics, and computer systems into an advanced manufacturing format.
“We are very pleased to be awarded this grant to help prepare workers for the jobs of the 21st Century,” said Corcoran.
The grant complements private funding earned through IVCC’s CTC Capital Campaign, led through a $1 million gift from the Miller Charitable Trust. Efforts continue to secure individual and industry support to equip the Peter Miller Community Technology Center with state-of-the-art equipment.
IVCC, one of 16 Illinois community colleges sharing the Department of Labor funding, will recognize the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) credential earned in high school and provide additional opportunities for high school graduates and GED completers to earn NCRC as a key to more specialized education and/or workplace.
Students can then earn the Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential through further IVCC courses featuring manufacturing processes and production, maintenance awareness, safety, quality and continuous improvement.
CPT-certified students will be prepared to study mechatronics, precision machining (CNC), industrial maintenance and metalworking (welding or fabrication) at the certificate or associate degree level and later at the bachelor’s level.
With their CPT credential, they can be working in the manufacturing environment while earning further industry-recognized credentials. The CPT has been endorsed by Illinois Valley area Chief Manufacturing Executives (CME) and Illinois Manufacturing Association (IMA) as a desirable credential for entry level operators.
The four-year grant will allow IVCC to fund part-time CPT faculty and laboratory instructors, an on-site project coordinator, faculty/coordinator training and travel, site licenses and registrations, testing, software, trainers and simulators.
Interim Vice President for Learning and Student Development Lori Scroggs credited Jennifer Scheri of the Business Training Center, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Sue Isermann, Director of Adult Education Sara Escatel, Director of Continuing Education and Business Services, Jamie Gahm, Dean of Career and Technical Programs Elaine Novak, manufacturing instructor Tim Bias, welding instructor Paul Leadingham, electronics instructor Jim Gibson and Pam Furlan and Carrie Folken of the Business Employment Skills Team (BEST) for preparing and coordinating the grant application.