The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) along with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) is partnering with City Colleges of Chicago, others, to help small-to-medium sized manufacturers find ways to reduce waste and pollution and create pathways to green jobs by engaging students.

Federal Grant of $3 Million Will Help Small & Medium Sized Manufacturers Increase Productivity Through Waste and Pollution Reduction and Expand Pathways to Green Jobs for Illinois Workers

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) along with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) is partnering with four Illinois community colleges across the state to help small-to-medium sized manufacturers (SMMs) find ways to reduce waste and pollution and create pathways to green jobs by engaging students.

The consortium is one of 17 new Industrial Assessment Centers selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to receive funding to expand training opportunities for in-demand, high-quality jobs while identifying opportunities for organizations to save energy, improve productivity, and reduce waste.

“Illinois is investing in our community colleges at a historic level, making it possible for every working-class resident to get the degree, training, and skills they need for 21st century jobs,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The four institutions that have been chosen to serve as Industrial Assessment Centers are cornerstones of our commitment to meeting our clean energy goals and they offer unique career opportunities in every corner of the state. I’m thankful to the Biden Administration for recognizing our leadership on clean energy and look forward to building on our successes through this collaboration.”

“This federal grant funding will substantially expand the number of clean energy career pathways for Illinois community college students and further Illinois’ position as a national leader in clean energy jobs. It’s another example of the leadership and commitment of Governor Pritzker to create a qualified and diverse workforce that will support the increased demand for these jobs across our state,” said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham.

ICCB will partner with four community colleges in Illinois’ four geographic regions:

Northern Illinois – City Colleges of Chicago

“We appreciate the state’s forward-thinking leadership that is helping community colleges like ours prepare our students to seize opportunities emerging in the fast-growing green economy sector,” said Chancellor Juan Salgado, City Colleges of Chicago. “With these funds and ICCB’s and IMEC’s partnership, City Colleges will continue to build out educational pathways that position our students for success in this field and support area employers seeking to grow their businesses and adapt to new technologies.”

Western Illinois – John Wood Community College (Quincy)

“John Wood Community College is honored to serve in this capacity, as a rural community college serving 100-plus manufacturers in West-Central Illinois; this funding will help to align training with current and developing career pathways in our region,” Dr. Bryan Renfro, JWCC president, said. “This Federal Department of Energy grant will help us better serve manufacturers by providing downstate access to resources to help companies boost productivity and sustainability and develop programs to pave the way for emerging jobs in wind and solar energy, and power distribution.”

Central Illinois – Lincoln Land Community College (Springfield)

“Lincoln Land Community College is able to serve as an economic driver for our communities by being agile and collaborating with local businesses to meet identified training needs,” said Dr. Charlotte Warren, LLCC president. “With this grant, we can meet the need for mobile training equipment to expand the availability of our industrial maintenance certificate in our communities, enable adults to upskill and foster more work-based learning opportunities to help individuals and communities thrive.”

Southern/Metro East – Southwestern Illinois College (Belleville)

“Southwestern Illinois College is excited to partner with John Wood Community College, Lincoln Land Community College, City Colleges of Chicago, and ICCB to champion the need for waste and pollution solutions,” said  Nick Mance, SWIC president.  “We are excited to be at the forefront of imbedding these solutions into our manufacturing curriculum. SWIC takes pride in providing educational opportunities related to clean energy jobs.”

The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) will partner with this consortium to design and carry out an assessment process and offer technical assistance to small- to medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), while engaging students to meet six specific objectives:

  1. Participate in a collaborative curriculum development approach for the following training areas: Additive Manufacturing, Advanced Manufacturing, Battery Energy Storage, Energy Efficiency, HVAC, Solar Energy, Smart Manufacturing, and Sustainable Manufacturing.
  2. Support the growth and health of SMMs in each of the four regions.
  3. Better connect students/future trainees to employers, by collaborating with IMEC to provide meaningful career exploration and work-based learning opportunities for students to engage in industrial assessments and technical assistance for SMMs.
  4. Help SMMs gain the knowledge and ability to become more energy efficient.
  5. Bring together a network of SMMs and workforce development partners to overcome challenges and strengthen regional partnerships.
  6. Increase access and persistence of target populations in training and employment, by designing energy- and manufacturing-related pathway programs that address the challenges and barriers specific to these groups.

For more information about the U.S. Industrial Research and Assessment Center Implementation Grant program visit

About the Illinois Community College Board

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) is the state coordinating organization for the Illinois Community College System – the third largest in the country and the leading public workforce development trainer in the state. The ICCB has statutory responsibility for administering state and federal grants to community college districts and adult education providers and managing high school equivalency testing for Illinois. Illinois community colleges serve over 600,000 residents each year in credit, noncredit, and continuing education courses. Illinois is home to 48 colleges in 39 community college districts which provide high quality, accessible, cost-effective educational opportunities to the entire state.