A $1.2 million Workforce Equity Initiative Grant from the Illinois Community College Board will enable Southwestern Illinois College to continue offering its one-year career training programs in East St. Louis.
“We’re able to continue the incredible work we’ve been doing at the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus,” said SWIC Executive Director of Enrollment Development Bob Tebbe. “We look forward to expanding career pathway programs and helping students achieve their educational and career goals.”
SWIC received a $1.4 million WEI grant in 2020 to develop employment training programs to assist minorities in underserved communities. Those programs include certificates in Welding, Nurse Assistant, Food Service, Forklift Training, and Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. This year, 274 students completed certificate programs at ESLHEC.
Additional certificate programs for 2021 include Phlebotomy, Practical Nursing, and Help Desk.
“The goal is to provide underserved residents of the East St. Louis area with vital job skills so they can earn a prevailing wage,” Tebbe said.
The 2020 grant also allowed SWIC to purchase a food truck to teach a food service class and a mobile technical education trailer to teach precision machining in that community.
To help students start their new careers, SWIC has earmarked funds from the 2021 grant to provide a stipend to students who complete a certificate program and secure employment.
“Southwestern Illinois College is developing relationships with community programs and businesses to create a pathway for students once they complete the program to enter into employment,” said Programs Outreach Coordinator/ESLHEC Site Administrator Gary Cruise. “We are excited to receive the $1.2 million training grant and looking forward to SWIC being a part of changing lives.”
The award to SWIC is part of an $18.7 million ICCB grant to 17 community colleges throughout the state that serve larger African American and other minority populations.
While the first year of the initiative was impacted by the current health crisis, demand remained high with 1,840 Illinoisans enrolling in WEI programs in the spring of 2020.
With the support of Illinois’ Legislative Black Caucus and House Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth, funding from the WEI allows participating colleges to develop or enhance training and career pathway programs in primarily five high demand employment sectors – health care, manufacturing and construction, transportation, information technology, and emergency services.
For the full WEI report visit: http://www.illinoiswei.org/.
To find out how you can sign up for one of the WEI career training programs, contact Cruise at (618) 874-6595 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTO: A SWIC Practical Nursing student at the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus practices her skills using a patient simulator.