Sandburg to Receive Grant for Green Efforts

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Carl Sandburg College was named among a coalition of Illinois community colleges to be awarded a $19.4 million federal grant as announced Tuesday, Sept. 29. The grant will help in the creation of new green job training programs to assist economically dislocated workers. The funding will go to 17 colleges that are members of the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN), a partnership of 39 Illinois community college districts working to grow Illinois’ green economy, provide new employment opportunities and foster healthy communities.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Illinois Green Economy Network Career Pathways grant as a hub college. We believe this project will have lasting effects on the region and Carl Sandburg College and will provide great opportunities for our students to get involved in green technologies,” said President Lori Sundberg, Carl Sandburg College.

The award is part of a total of $500 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Education announced today to fund job training and workforce development for economically dislocated workers who are changing careers. The $500 million will fund 32 grants nationwide; the IGEN grant is the only award in Illinois.

“This grant reaffirms IGEN as a national model for sustainability education and pathways for green careers, and it will allow us to focus services and programs on workers in great need of education for career transitions,” said IGEN Co-Chair Jerry Weber, Ph.D., president of the College of Lake County, the administrative agent for the grant.

The 17 IGEN colleges partnering in the $19.37 million grant are Carl Sandburg College, Danville Area Community College, Heartland Community College, Highland Community College, Illinois Central College, John A. Logan College, John Wood Community College, Kankakee Community College, Lewis & Clark Community College, Lincoln Land, Community College, Rend Lake College, South Suburban, College, Southeastern Illinois College, Southwestern Illinois College, Triton College, and Waubonsee Community College. However, all programs and material developed will be available to all 48 Illinois community colleges.

Robin DeMott, director of marketing and public relations for Carl Sandburg College, said it’s unknown what portion of the $19.4 million grant the school will receive to develop curricula, service and programs for green job training. “We expect an overview of the grant and deliverables in a few weeks,” she said.

Consortium colleges will focus their efforts on developing or enhancing training to prepare for careers in the following industries or occupations:

Architecture and Construction Science: Green Facilities Management, Associate in Applied Science degree (A.A.S.) (stackable certificates: retrofits, conservation); Building Operator Certification Level I and II; Greening Existing Buildings, A.A.S. (stackable certificates: HVAC, green rehab/retrofit, weatherization); BPI Building Analyst; Sustainable Design and Construction, A.A.S. (stackable certificates: green design and construction)

Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Renewable Energy, A.A.S.; Sustainable Energy, A.A.S. (stackable certificates: biofuels, geothermal energy); Solar Certificate; Wind Turbine Technician, A.A.S. (stackable certificates)

Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources: A.A.S. degrees in Sustainable Agriculture Technology; Sustainable Landscape Practices

Information Technology: Smart Grid, A.A.S.

Manufacturing: Biodiesel Technology, A.A.S.; Advanced Manufacturing (stackable certificates: modern production technology, advanced welding, precision machining technology)

Transportation, Distribution and Logistics: Stormwater Management Technician, A.A.S. (stackable certificates: soil conservation, storm water management).

IGEN was launched in 2008 as a president-led consortium of all 48 Illinois community colleges dedicated to the training and education of a green workforce and deployment of energy conservation and green technology. With financial support from the Illinois Governor’s Office, Illinois DCEO, and the U.S. Departments of Education and Energy, IGEN works continuously to leverage the strengths and contributions of individual colleges to benefit all colleges within the Illinois Community College System. By combining the power of community colleges as credible education and training organizations, with the power of the business sector to innovate, and the ability of local communities to identify their individual needs, IGEN partnerships energize a new level of engagement and productivity in the green economy.