PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Illinois Central College president Sheila Quirk-Bailey is in the process of having solar panels installed on her home by some familiar faces.
ICC graduates, now working for Sun Collectors, are helping to install the panels. The former students are graduates of the college’s solar pipeline training program.
The college recently received a $750,000 grant from the state to help boost the program and get more students
The program lasts nine weeks and is designed to prepare those interested in a career in solar panel installation, which according to Quirk-Bailey, is a growing industry.
“There are grants available to people to put them into these jobs, which is part of the package to attract more industry to central Illinois because we really do have a booming solar industry,” she said.
One of the graduates, Chris Bell-Melvin, said he appreciated his time in the program. He said he got to travel across the country as a result, which is an experience he enjoyed.
The point of the program, according to workforce development director Michelle DeVore, is to make sure students are North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified.
Individuals trained in solar installation can earn upwards of $100,000 a year in the Greater Peoria region.