Local colleges requesting responses to IT survey to get $15M grant

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CENTRAL Ill. (WMBD) — Three local colleges are asking for input from local IT companies to bring a potential $15 million grant to Central Illinois.

Illinois Central College (ICC) is partnering with Bradley University and Eureka College to raise grant money to fund a program called ‘Hired! IT Workforce Accelerator’ project.

As part of the project, ICC and its partners will develop educational and training programs aimed at meeting employers’ current and future IT staffing needs and filling labor shortages.

ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey said, “The project will address the regional IT workforce shortage while serving individuals entering the workforce (high school graduates and uncredentialed adults), those seeking to upskill (IT incumbent workers), and those looking for a career change. The level of documented needs is directly related to the competitiveness of our grant application.”

An industry partner, educational institution, and community-based organization collaborated on the project. Educational cohorts will be offered to students at no cost.

A community-based organization will also provide free training and wrap-around services. Employers will communicate workforce needs to education and training providers so that training programs can be designed to fill those vacancies; then, they will commit to hiring credentialed graduates to fill these positions.

Additionally, the project will focus on creating jobs for those most in need within the industry by improving workforce inclusivity and access.

A grant application will be submitted by the ICC and its partners for a Good Jobs Challenge grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Award amounts will range from $5 million to $25 million. 

Companies that are interested in bringing money to the region should visit icc.edu/hired-it-workforce-accelerator by Dec. 7, 2021.

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