Connect with us

Community News

Litchfield to receive $8.6 million for South Central Illinois Training & Innovation Center

Published

on

Illinois Capitol News

LITCHFIELD – Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), local and state leaders today announced the award of $8.6 million for a new South-Central Illinois (SCI) Training & Innovation Center. The grant will be used to redevelop a warehouse in the City of Litchfield’s Industrial Park and will create a regional training center, providing Career and Technical Training (CTE) for school districts in Montgomery & Macoupin Counties. The center is expected to launch in Fall of 2023.

“Educational opportunities are key to an economically prosperous state—and the new South Central Illinois Training & Innovation Center is just one of the many ways we are preparing our young people for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Thanks to an $8.6 million award from DCEO, students in Montgomery and Macoupin Counties will have access to top-tier training in everything from welding and auto technology to precision machining and IT certifications. This investment is a win for our young people, the South-Central region, and the entire state of Illinois—and I am grateful to DCEO and our partners at Lincoln Land Community College and Lewis and Clark Community College for their leadership.”

The Center will offer training to both high school students as well as displaced workers located in the region. In partnership with Lincoln Land Community College & Lewis and Clark Community College, students will have the opportunity to earn college credits and industry credentials while still in high school – helping them meet the needs of regional workforce demands while preparing them for postsecondary success.
“Providing students and displaced workers with training opportunities to prepare them for good-paying jobs is a key economic development strategy and focus of the Pritzker Administration,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “Establishing a Training & Innovation Center will provide fantastic workforce opportunities for Litchfield and the surrounding region while solidifying the area as a training hub.”

“Gaining firsthand experience in technical fields can be a game changer for folks trying to figure out their career path. Facilities like the Training and Innovation Center in Litchfield will help folks prepare for good paying careers in manufacturing and other growing industries in Illinois,” said DCEO Director Sylvia I. Garcia. “Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, the state has taken a comprehensive approach to supporting Illinois’ workforce by increasing training opportunities for job seekers across the state, building career pipelines for growing industries, and launching programs to provide new skills for workers in an evolving marketplace.”
The Center will offer training in auto technology, welding as well as an Illinois Laborers’ & Contractors apprenticeship program focused on the trades. The warehouse will be retrofitted to offer state-of-the-art facilities including a full-scale auto garage, welding center, and separate modules different areas within the trades – all designed for hands-on learning.
“Today we are laying the groundwork for helping people in Litchfield and the surrounding region meet their full potential and get the training they need to land a good paying job,” said State Sen. Doris Turner (D-Springfield). “Ensuring that centers for career and technical education have state-of-the-art facilities is essential for a vibrant economy. I am thrilled to support this amazing opportunity for Montgomery and Macoupin County workers, businesses, and communities.”

“We are collectively excited and grateful for our $8.6 million DCEO grant that will allow us to partner with our neighboring K-12 districts, community colleges, and regional business partners to grow targeted skill development for students and displaced adult workers in the Montogmery and Macoupin Counties Region,” said Superintendent of the Litchfield Community School District, Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau. “The South-Central Illinois (SCI) Training & Innovation Center will be used to train the next generation of career & technical workers and will be a great tool for growing our regional workforce and ultimately furthering our region’s economic development.”Located within the City of Litchfield’s Industrial Park, the Center is expected to add additional areas of training designed to meet the demands of the workforce, including Precision Machining, IT Certifications, & Agriculture Technology.

This $8.6 million dollar investment is part of the State’s commitment to supporting and growing Illinois’ workforce by providing capital grants for training centers, creating targeted training opportunities and building pipelines. This includes more than $15 million for the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship program, $15 million in capital grants for Advanced Manufacturing Academies, $20 million to boost equitable workforce recovery through the Training and Economic Development Program (JTED) program, and much more. To learn more about job training and workforce development efforts and opportunities, please visit dceo.illinois.gov.

Advertisement
Share this story

Comments

comments

Community News

School board deals with personnel issues during special meeting

Published

on

By

Stephanie Bray

Meeting in special session Monday night, members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education accepted “with regrets” the resignation for purposes of retirement of Stephanie Bray, one of the district’s three technology integration specialists, effective June 4.

The board called a special session to deal with the apparently unexpected resignation before the board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting later this month. However, board members tabled action on approving a revised job description for the Student Information System/Data Integration Specialist position, pending further discussion.

The board also tabled action on posting the newly created vacancy and tabled posting a district-level secretary’s position.

In February of 2022, the board accepted “with regrets” Bray’s announcement of her retirement “no later than the end of the 2025-26 school year.” There was no indication of why Bray moved her retirement date up by two years.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Amanda Ross, the board voted unanimously to accept Bray’s resignation. The action followed a 50-minute executive session to discuss personnel issues behind closed doors. The public portion of the meeting lasted less than 10 minutes.

In other action, the board voted to renew the district’s One Room contract to offer a remotely taught Spanish class to fulfill the district’s foreign language requirement for the 2024-25 school year. This will be the second year an off-site teacher will teach foreign language at GHS, using remote communication technology. Supt. Shane Owsley said the district had no applications for the vacant teaching position last year. This year, an applicant from Brazil explored the possibility of teaching in Gillespie but ultimately accepted a tutoring position at Greenville University. Owsley said hiring the applicant could have become cumbersome because she was not yet certificated to teach high school Spanish. He said he recently changed the job description from Spanish to foreign language to expand the pool of potential applicants.

In other personnel action, the board approved the maternity leave request of Amber Allan, BenGil Elementary physical education teacher, effective Aug. 28 through Jan. 20.

In separate actions, the board accepted Nathan Henrichs resignation as Gillespie High School freshman football coach, posted the position as vacant, and appointed Henrichs as a varsity assistant football coach. The board also voted unanimously to appoint Alex Jasper as an assistant freshman football coach. The board unanimously accepted Wayne Ireland’s resignation as a volunteer assistant football coach, and voted unanimously to appoint Jarrod Herron and hire Trenton Cleveland as volunteer assistant football coaches.

Advertisement

The board voted unanimously to hire Michael Rodriguez as a high school volunteer assistant women’s basketball coach.

On a motion by Schmidt, seconded by Kelli Vesper, the board hired Alexis Ollis as a head cook and kitchen staff member, pending documentation of certification and a background check. The board also Brittany Hughes as a district kitchen staff worker, pending documentation of certification and background check.

On a motion by Vesper, the board voted unanimously to post a vacancy for a one-on-one paraprofessional aide.

Board members voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Jessica Kelly as a middle school assistant track and field coach and voted unanimously to hire Jay Weber as the high school head track and field coach.

The regular monthly meeting of the board is set for 6 p.m., Monday, June 24, at the district’s administrative office.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community News

Americana festival set for July 4 at Benld Park

Published

on

Jess Barker, The Lodge Brothers, and The New Prairie Drifters are set to take the stage at Benld City Park on Thursday, July 4 as part of the Americana Festival.

The music festival intends to celebrate the birthday and spirit of America with thriving local culture of music, food, and art. It is scheduled to begin at 12 noon and end at 6 pm.

Food will be available for purchase from The Barracks American Table, a new Gillespie restaurant, and skincare products will be available from Nature’s Bliss, a Benld gift shop.

The park is located at 305 North Main Street in Benld. Admission is free.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community News

Macoupin County Fair underway until Sunday

Published

on

Rides, tents, food trucks, music, animals, and plenty of other offerings fill the grounds at the Macoupin County Fair for the 172nd year. The fair is held June 4 through June 9 at the Macoupin County Fairground north of Carlinville.

The oldest county fair in Illinois, the Macoupin County Fair welcomes thousands of guests to the area and unites agriculture, family, and community. The fair continues through Sunday with highlights every evening.

The fair also meets the needs of families on a budget, for just $10 per person you get parking and all-access to the carnival rides. The cost-friendly fun draws in visitors and locals who get to embrace the county’s namesakes.

Tracy Lawrence and Walker Montgomery are set to take the stage Thursday evening, June 6, at 7:30pm. Friday evening features the tractor and truck pull, and Saturday evening is the crowd-favorite demolition derby.

The fair opens every morning at 8am and closes at 12 midnight. For a full list of schedule of events or to pre-pay for entry, visit the fair’s website here.

Share this story

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Trending

×

We need your support. If you value having timely, accurate news about your community, please become one of our subscribers. Subscribe