Lincoln Land Community College has been awarded a $5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce for the expansion of programs that prepare candidates for in-demand jobs. In-demand jobs are those that pay a sustainable wage and offer a promising future based on the projected number of openings and growth.
Responding to an urgent community need for more paramedics, emergency medical technicians, truck drivers, diesel mechanics and agriculture specialists, LLCC will put this grant money to work renovating and expanding training facilities that will allow increased student capacity and continued cutting-edge curriculum, producing highly-trained professionals who are ready to fill local, in-demand jobs.
Specifically, LLCC President Dr. Charlotte Warren said that the funds will be used to:
• Renovate the east wing of Logan Hall for an expanded emergency services training facility and purchase a working ambulance, state-of-the-art equipment and simulators. This will allow more than 400 students to enroll each year in the EMT, advanced EMT and paramedic training programs.
• Expand the truck driver training lot and purchase a new tractor and trailer, which allows for an additional 90 new students to enroll 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 students this fall for the two-year program, adding cohorts thereafter.
• 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.
"Every time an ambulance arrives late to a call, the urgent need for additional paramedics and EMTs becomes more apparent," said Dr. Christopher McDowell, 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."
A search of indeed.com for EMTs and paramedics within 50 miles of Springfield shows 25 open positions.
"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 of Mid-West Truckers Association. Indeed.com currently shows nearly 500 open positions for truck drivers within 50 miles of Springfield. Schaefer commented that quality training is the first step toward filling open positions 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. "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." A search of indeed.com for diesel technicians/mechanics within 50 miles of Springfield displays results of more than 700 open positions.
LLCC's Workforce Career Training programs each focus on hands-on learning and getting students ready to be earning a living in their chosen field as efficiently as possible. Registration for these customized training programs is currently underway and can be found at: https://www.llcc.edu/get-training-enter-workforce.