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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $14.7 Million to Develop Information Technology Workforce Training Programs in Central Illinois Through American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge

Competition Provides Once-In-A-Generation Funding to Locally Driven, Diverse Partnerships to Create and Develop Workforce Training Programs that Support Local Economies

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $14.7 million American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge grant to Illinois Central College, East Peoria, Illinois, to create an information technology training program in partnership with local companies.

This project will train low-income residents as early as high school. Partner employers have committed to providing wraparound services to trainees and eventually hiring trainees. With a focus on equity, Illinois Central College will also partner with several community-based organizations to support and train workers.

“President Biden is committed to expanding career opportunities for more Americans to secure good-paying jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment strengthens the pipeline of skilled technology and cybersecurity professionals that employers in Central Illinois need to stay competitive.”

“The Good Jobs Challenge is bringing together diverse partners and local leaders to advance workforce training programs across the country,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “Led by Illinois Central College, this project creates new high-paying job opportunities in information technology that will build resiliency and ensure economic prosperity reaches all pockets of the region.”

“A strong workforce pipeline with integrated support along the way is essential for giving all Illinoisans a pathway to success,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “As industries across Illinois are rapidly growing, it’s important that our workforce not only expand, but also learn new skills for the jobs of the future. This funding will give local organizations the tools to educate workers and build a stronger future for our state. The Illinoisans served by these programs want to grow and succeed, and I’m thrilled that President Biden’s administration is partnering with our state to ensure they have the opportunity to do so.”

“The path forward for our economy is investing in our communities and building a strong workforce,” said Senator Dick Durbin. “With this support from the federal government, Illinois Central College will be able to offer new, innovative training for Illinoisans in partnership with community-based organizations.”

“The more we provide Illinoisans with opportunities to learn new skills and expand their careers, the more we can support a strong and diverse workforce, which is why I’m proud the American Rescue Plan – passed by Democrats – continues to support programs that help create good-paying jobs and encourage local economic growth in Peoria and throughout Illinois,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth.

“For decades, Illinois Central College has played a vital role in preparing students for successful careers,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17). “I’m so proud to join Secretary Raimondo to announce that more than $14 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan is headed to ICC to develop new programing focused on advancing our local workforce and training folks for 21st century jobs. I was proud to vote for this historic legislation and I look forward to seeing the incredible impact this investment will have on our community.”

This grant is funded through the American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge. The program awarded grants to 32 worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country. The $500 million program is expanding opportunities for more Americans to access and secure good-paying jobs by investing in innovative approaches to advance worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships.

The 32 awardee projects were selected from a competitive pool of 509 applicants. By partnering with stakeholders such as labor unions, community colleges and industry, these projects will solve for local talent needs, increase the supply of trained workers and help workers secure jobs in 15 key industries that are essential to U.S. supply chains, global competitiveness, and regional development. Through a holistic, integrated partnership approach, these projects will provide tangible opportunities and security for American workers, focusing on serving and supporting a broad range of underserved communities and connecting workers with the training, skills, and support services needed to successfully secure a good job. For more information on the grantees, please visit our fact sheet. (PDF)

The Good Jobs Challenge is part of a suite of American Rescue Plan programs developed by EDA to equitably distribute its $3 billion allocation to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to 4 a better America by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be more resilient to future economic shocks.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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