RVC and Community College Partners receive Federal Grant to expand Manufacturing Training

Rock Valley College, in partnership with McHenry County College and Highland Community College, is set to bolster access to workforce training and skill development in high-demand manufacturing fields following the receipt of a $5.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.


RVC receives a federal grant to help expand manufacturing training.

“The future of manufacturing is in Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Thanks to this federal grant, Rock Valley College and its partners will provide stipends and train hundreds of students for in-demand, high-paying manufacturing jobs. This endeavor, along with the investments my administration has made, strategically expands the talent pipeline Illinois companies need to remain competitive globally. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Manufacturing is a $115 billion industry in Illinois, representing nearly 13% of the gross state product while the top 15 occupations in manufacturing are forecast to grow by 12% over the next five years.

"I am grateful for my colleagues Chris Kuberski (Highland Community College) and Dr. Clinton Gabbard (McHenry County College). Together, we will work within our college districts to strengthen collaborations with business and industry partners to enhance access to advanced manufacturing education and training,” said Rock Valley College President Dr. Howard J. Spearman. “These efforts will help us to close equity gaps by increasing enrollment, completion, and employment rates for women, African American, and Hispanic students.”

Administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, the Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants supports community colleges to prepare students for jobs that pay family-sustaining wages and offer career development opportunities.

“ICCB is excited to partner with these outstanding community colleges to provide more flexible learning options for students so they can return to or enter meaningful and sustainable employment as quickly as possible.  We are excited to help set the strategic direction of this expansion that meets the consortium’s equity goals and help them engage with a wide range of external partners to drive awareness and recruitment,” said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham.

“Hiring qualified workers is one of the key challenges facing manufacturers across Illinois. This grant will help address that issue by providing students access to important training opportunities that will better prepare them for high-paying jobs in an exciting field,” said Sarah Hartwick, Vice President of Education & Workforce Policy for the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and Executive Director of the IMA’s Education Foundation. “By investing in our workforce, we can build stronger, more prosperous communities across Illinois.”

Rock Valley and its cohorts are part of 41 community colleges across the U.S. to be selected for the $65 million federal grant program to expand capacity for job skills training that meets an increased demand by employers and helps more students qualify for good-paying jobs.

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.