QUINCY — John Wood Community College announced that the U.S. Economic Administration awarded more than $3 million as part of an investment grant for the expansion of the Workforce Development Center.
The EDA grant was created as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. JWCC began the application process for the grant in June of last year, including responding to multiple requests for information from the EDA.
“After a year-long Campus Master Planning process, John Wood Community College’s number one capital project was the expansion of our Workforce Development Center, Michael Elbe said. Elbe is the president of John Wood Community College. “We continue to make investments for workforce training in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, transportation/logistics, health sciences and many other career technical programs.”
JWCC was advised this week that they were awarded $3,033,418 from the Economic Development Agency.
In a statement released by the EDA announcing the grant awards, Representative Darin LaHood said the grant will help spur job growth and encourage economic development in Quincy and the surrounding area.
“John Wood Community College in Quincy provides exceptional opportunities for students that prepare them to succeed in our 21st-century workforce,” LaHood said.
The grant will be used to expand JWCC’s Workforce Development Center, located at 4220 Kochs Lane in Quincy, adding 14,300 square feet to the existing facility. The grant will be matched with $3 million in local funds, and is projected by John Wood to create more than 900 jobs, retain more than 430 jobs, and attract more than $125 million in private investment.
John Wood Community College will use the expansion to establish space for their new Automation and Robotics programs, as well as the Automotive Diesel Technology training program. The expansion will also allow the creation of a new Truck Driver Training area and expand other existing programs.
Dennis Alvord, acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, said the EDA is committed to supporting local efforts to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These EDA investments will bolster workforce training,” Alvord said, “and the development of online instruction to assist entrepreneurs, resulting in job creation and greater economic resilience.”
“Throughout the pandemic, Illinois has prioritized delivering of our COVID relief funds directly into the pockets of small businesses, renters, homeowners, and other residents in need,” Governor J.B. Pritzker said. “I’m so grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration and (US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo) for doubling down on that commitment.
“Community colleges like John Wood are the best engines for our workforce,” Pritzker added.
Senator Dick Durbin said one of the goals of the CARES Act was to help communities recover from the unprecedented economic challenges created by the pandemic.
“I’m pleased that this EDA funding will support John Wood Community College,” Durbin said. “I’m proud to support this federal funding and will continue advocating for strong investments in Illinois.”
“We are honored and grateful for the investment from the Economic Development Administration,” Elbe said, “and to our local, state and federal legislators and community business partners who supported this project. Leveraging these federal grant dollars is an excellent opportunity to provide expansion of programs and facilities for this region to support the workforce needs of the Tri-State area.”