INA, Ill. – Rend Lake College has been notified it will receive a portion of the $19.37 million Department of Labor grant to deliver green design and management programming to students across the state and right here at home.
As one of 17 community colleges serving as “hubs” in the Illinois Green Economy Network’s Career Pathways Consortium (CPC), RLC will receive part of this federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative funding to Illinois community colleges. The grant is for developing training programs and services for workers who need education for career transitions.
Rend Lake College is awaiting notification of the dollar amount it will receive from the grant, which is being administered by the College of Lake County, leader of the CPC.
“We are very excited to hear the Illinois Green Economy Network has received notification of a $19.37 million U.S. Department of Labor grant,” said RLC President Charley D. Holstein. “We are thrilled about the opportunities these funds will bring to Southern Illinois. RLC is one of only a few community colleges in Southern Illinois to be a part of the Career Pathways Consortium. I’m delighted we are involved in such unprecedented collaboration. The Illinois Green Jobs Survey showed that nearly 30 percent of most green employment in the future will require at least some college. We are confident our proposed curriculum will help build a transformative workforce for Illinois and potentially the nation.”
On Monday Dr. Jill Biden, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter announced nearly $500 million in grants to community colleges around the country for such initiatives. According to the Department of Labor, this is the first installment in a $2 billion, four-year investment funded through the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. Combined with President Obama’s American Jobs Act that would provide additional support for hiring and reemployment services, the TAACCCT initiative will increase opportunities for the unemployed, according to the Department of Labor.
RLC Architectural Technology Professor Kevin Weston, who headed RLC’s portion of the IGEN grant proposal, said Rend Lake College will use the money to build two new online programs – sustainable design and facilities management.
“These two new programs will teach students how to design energy-efficient buildings using sustainable materials and learn facilities management to upgrade existing facilities to make them much more green and energy efficient,” he explained.
IGEN, launched in 2008, is a president-led consortium of all 48 Illinois community colleges with a mission of providing a platform for collaboration to establish sustainable best practices, promote energy demand reduction projects, and drive growth of the green economy, according to the IGEN website (igencc.org).
Weston said students interested in these programs can sign up at their local community college.
“We are just thrilled to be a part of the TAA grant application to assist students throughout the state and in our local area with educational opportunities in sustainable design and energy conservation,” Weston said. “We think this will be an important step in assisting our local and state economies to meet future needs of our nation’s workforce.”
Weston has worked with IGEN for several years. He said this grant gives RLC the ability to bring some new things to students in Southern Illinois and throughout the state.
The curriculum still has to be written and approved by the Illinois Community College Board, Weston explained. He said he anticipates the programs to be in place and ready for enrollment by fall of next year. Throughout the process, Weston said, he will be collaborating with IGEN staff and other educators on adapting the programs to incorporate advances in the field.
Additional information – which includes comments from Dr. Biden, Secretary Solis and Under Secretary Kanter – can be found in the U.S. Department of Labor release HERE.
A release from the College of Lake County with comments from President and IGEN Co-Chair Jerry Weber can be found HERE.
A list of grantees by state with project descriptions can be viewed HERE.