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ICC breaks ground on $12M Workforce Sustainability Center

ICC sustainability workforce
Illinois Central College
Rendering of the new Illinois Central College Workforce Sustainability Center in East Peoria. The $12 million project is slated for a fall 2021 completion date.

Illinois Central College is breaking ground on a new $12 million Workforce Sustainability Center in East Peoria.

ICC president Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey said there are an estimated 3,500 regional job openings each year in the areas of manufacturing, logistics, construction, IT, and health sciences.

Through data, she said those sectors were determined to have the largest workforce gaps.

"We'll expand solar, we'll expand geothermal, we'll expand truck driving," Quirk-Bailey said. "All of our workforce readiness programs have been happening over at the Peoria campus, where we're pretty much out of space. This will allow all of them to double."

Other programs to be housed in the new 28,000 square foot building include highway construction, computer-aided drafting, machinist training, manufacturing training programs, and pre-apprenticeship programs.

"Those are those short-term, turn them around, teach essential skills, social-emotional learning, first-level industry certifications, so people can go right out into industry, or get the first-level credit credential, short-term credential, and go right out to industry," she said.

About 40 percent of greater Peoria's workforce currently has a credential beyond a high school diploma, but about 60 percent of available jobs in the region are expected to require some form of post-secondary credential by 2025.

Construction of the new building on the site of the current Dirksen Hall is funded by a $3 million federal EDA grant, a matching state grant, and $5.5 million from ICC. The remaining $1 million is coming from community donors.

The new Workforce Sustainability Center is slated to open in fall 2022.

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