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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - Governor JB Pritzker announced Tuesday two new manufacturing training academies will be established in downstate communities. 

Through a $15 million Notice of Funding Opportunity, Illinois will establish two new innovative Manufacturing Trainings Academies to expand opportunities for skills training, boost retention of manufacturers in downstate communities, and attract more investment by manufacturing companies throughout Illinois.  

“I’m proud to announce today that Illinois is dedicating $15 million to establish two downstate manufacturing training academies to address the shortage of skilled workers. We’re investing directly in communities and in companies with programs that will allow businesses to grow, retain and attract new talent for higher paying jobs of the future,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These new Manufacturing Training Academies will provide 21st century manufacturing training to help more of our residents bring the right skills to the workplace, while helping Illinois companies keep up as they retool to remain competitive for the future. And through this program, we will bring investments where they are most needed, specifically for downstate communities, where these cutting-edge training opportunities have not been as widely available.”

DCEO will provide a total of $15 million for two capital grants to fund the construction of new facilities to house two new Manufacturing Training Academies in downstate Illinois.

The NOFO is seeking proposals from community colleges to provide cutting-edge training programs that will equip students for an array of well-paying skilled manufacturing jobs that require specialized training.   

These academies will offer specialized training that is not widely available at downstate community colleges for high-demand manufacturing jobs such as machinery mechanics and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine operators and programmers.

“Manufacturing has long been at the heart of Illinois’ economy and with these timely and critical investments we will ensure we capture a large share of the industry’s projected growth in the years ahead—which represents boundless opportunities for the next generation of workers and a pathway to well-paying jobs of the future,” said DCEO Director Erin B. Guthrie. “Under the leadership of Governor Pritzker, we will continue to make key investments to that will not only attract new companies but ensure our current businesses have the talent and resources to flourish.”  

Eligible applicants for the Manufacturing Training Academies NOFO include community college districts or coalitions of community college districts in downstate Illinois, which includes all of Illinois outside of Cook and the collar counties.

“As Illinois’ largest workforce training provider, community colleges statewide have the expertise to partner with local communities to help guide our residents on the path to meaningful careers through these new facilities,” said Brian Durham, Executive Director of the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). “Manufacturing remains an important and growing industry for our state, and we are poised, with the right investments, to ensure more Illinoisans get the opportunities they need to train for these 21st century jobs. The ICCB and the community college system stand ready to work with the Governor and other local partners to help lead this initiative.”

“The future of manufacturing is already here. Technologies like collaborative robots and artificial intelligence are reshaping the skill needs in manufacturing,” said David Boulay, President and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC). “New investments by the State of Illinois to create Manufacturing Training Academies offer the promise to not only reimagine manufacturing jobs but also to upskill our talented workforce and ensure our Illinois manufacturers remain globally competitive.”

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