In honor of October being Illinois Manufacturing Month, Kaskaskia College partnered with The Greater Centralia Chamber of Commerce and the City of Centralia’s Industrial Commission for a “Celebrate Manufacturing Event” at the college’s Crisp Technology Center on Oct. 6, 2022.
“Currently, there are more jobs in this area than we have students,” stated KC President George Evans. “And these are good paying jobs with excellent benefits that become lifetime careers. Our region is made up of heavy career technical education areas, with manufacturing being the number one employer in our district, so we will continue focusing on developing that workforce pipeline.”
The event highlighted the continued efforts between the college, chamber, and city to develop the next generation of the workforce for the industrial manufacturing industries in the local area. The event was free and open to all local industry leaders, employers, and educators to learn the opportunities for training and education the college can offer in industrial trades.
“The need for workers is at the top of every chamber members list,” said Centralia Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marcus Holland. “With new businesses opening in Centralia almost every month and the hundreds of jobs available, it’s important to recognize the available training opportunities right in our backyard.”
“The college’s Crisp Center is great for the City of Centralia,” said Mayor Bryan Kuder. “It’s the key to the future for local high school vocational students to receive training and filling openings in the city’s manufacturing facilities.”
Program coordinators from heating, venting, and air conditioning, carpentry occupations, welding, automotive technology, industrial technology, truck driving, engineering, and construction management were on hand to offer tours of their program areas and highlight the existing partnerships with local companies for training and apprenticeships. Demonstrations included a virtual reality welder, an electric vehicle trainer, robotics, and virtual reality headsets that feature different career and technical education scenarios.
KC Dean of Workforce Engagement and Industrial Service Careers Joy Fitts presented the 2020 and 2022 Business & Industry Partnership Awards. The 2020 award was presented to Jeff Pelka of Grupo Antolin thanks to their partnership with the college in the industrial technology program. The 2022 award was presented to Mark Greene of ConAgra for their time served on KC’s advisory boards, involvement in KC welding training programs, and apprenticeship development.