New Grant to Help Train Workers for Manufacturing Jobs

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STATELINE (WIFR) -- The Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance, in partnership with the City of Rockford, has been awarded a $1.2 million dollar grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide accelerated training in manufacturing tailored to the specific needs of area employers.

The Accelerated Training for Illinois Manufacturing (ATIM) grant covers four counties in northern Illinois, Winnebago, Boone, Stephenson and DeKalb Counties, integrating classroom/lab-based and work-based training for 133 participants.

“Manufacturing companies in the northern Illinois region need trained workers as soon as possible,” said Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey. “This program will allow participants to build on the skills they already have to get into the workforce more quickly.”

The grant will target several high-demand areas in manufacturing, including:
• Mechanical Engineering Technicians
• Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment
• Industrial Machinery Mechanics
• Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic
• Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
• Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
• A & P Mechanics
• Assemblers

“Training providers and employers were involved in the application process for this grant,” added Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance Chairman Paul Callighan. “The program will include bridge programs, work experience assignments and internships, as well as on-the-job training contracts.”

According to Illinois DCEO, the three key elements of the program include:

• responding directly to regional demand to fill current manufacturing vacancies and near-term projected job postings through unprecedented levels of employer involvement;
• providing industry-recognized skill training and education along with On-the-Job Training opportunities so employers know trainees are ready for work on day one; and
• better integrating services from multiple programs to get people trained rapidly in the skills employers want and to provide the opportunity to land good paying jobs.
Partners involved in the program include economic development and industry organizations, local community colleges, community-based organizations and numerous employers.

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