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 are excited to have another year to work with this population of students and help them change their lives” said Leonard “Gary” Cruise, East St. Louis Higher Education Center Program Outreach Coordinator/Site Administrator. “This grant has provided a chance for those who want to take charge of the direction that will push their families into a new start. All of the students who have participated in our programs have been very thankful.”
SWIC received a $1.4 million WEI grant in 2020 and a $1.2 million grant in 2021 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, Phlebotomy, Practical Nursing. Since 2019, 130 students have received credentials.
A Web Design certificate will be offered starting in fall 2022.
“This is an amazing opportunity to continue to make an impact in our local communities through the implementation of our Workforce Equity programming,” said Scott Queener, Ph.D., Director of Enrollment Development and Campus Operations. “The additional funding allows us to continue to offer specialized educational training that targets the current employment gaps in our workforce. As a result of this grant, we are able to expand our educational programs this year.”
In addition to program development, grant funds have 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.
The award to SWIC is part of an $22.8 million ICCB grant to 18 community colleges throughout the state that serve African American and other minority populations.
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.