Photo: Speaking at a press conference today about LLCC’s $5 million training grant were L-R: Don Schaefer, executive vice president, Mid-West Truckers Association; Dan Smith, vice president of product support, Roland Machinery Co.; Charlotte Warren, Ph.D., president, LLCC; Ken Elmore, chair, LLCC Board of Trustees; and Christopher McDowell, M.D., associate professor and chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, SIU School of Medicine.
Responding to an urgent community need for more paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), truck drivers, diesel mechanics and agriculture specialists, LLCC will renovate and expand its training facilities with the help of a $5 million federal grant.
The expanded facilities will allow student capacity in these programs to grow and remain on the cutting edge of curriculum, producing trained workers ready to fill local, in-demand jobs.
The grant was awarded to LLCC by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
“We’re excited to announce the receipt of a large grant that will allow us to positively impact the workforce of our local communities in critical areas of need,” said Ken Elmore, chair of the LLCC Board of Trustees, at a press conference today.
LLCC President Charlotte Warren, Ph.D., announced that the funds will be used to:
- Renovate the east wing of Logan Hall for an expanded emergency services training facility, purchase a working ambulance and state-of-the-art equipment and simulators, allowing more than 400 students to enroll each year in EMT, Advanced EMT and Paramedic training programs.
- Expand the truck driver training lot and purchase a new tractor and trailer, allowing for an additional 90 new students for a total of 251 students annually
- Renovate a lab in the Workforce Careers Center to house and equip a new diesel technologies program. The first class will admit 20 next fall for this two-year program, adding cohorts after that.
- Construct a large storage facility adjacent to the truck driver training lot to house heavy equipment for agriculture and diesel technologies programs, along with the new ambulance for emergency services. As these programs grow, the college will continue to offer the latest from the industry for students.
“Every time an ambulance arrives late to a call, the urgent need for additional paramedics and EMTs becomes more apparent,” said Christopher McDowell, M.D., chair of emergency medicine at SIU School of Medicine. “Expanding LLCC’s emergency services program is critical in increasing the supply of EMS providers to serve the citizens of our communities.”
“We applaud the expansion of LLCC’s truck driver training program to address the continuing shortage of workers to fill positions in our industry,” commented Don Schaefer, executive vice president, Mid-West Truckers Association. “There are currently more than 1,700 good-paying jobs open for truck drivers in the LLCC district, and quality training is the first step toward filling them with safe and dependable drivers.”
Meanwhile, the need for mechanics to service and repair diesel engines is also acute.
“There is a significant need for diesel technicians in our field, which includes the construction, agriculture and trucking industries,” said Dan Smith, vice president of product support for Roland Machinery Co., headquartered in Springfield. “Last week there were 427 open positions within 100 miles of Springfield for diesel technicians. These are high wage positions that can also lead to career advancement in parts and service management. We’re pleased and excited that LLCC will be training new diesel technicians and look forward to hiring their graduates.”
Yesterday’s press conference took place as the future of the local workforce, over 500 area high school students, attended LLCC’s first Workforce Careers Expo, where they had the opportunity to visit local employers’ displays and learn about job opportunities in the trades.