DANVILLE — Vermilion County’s manufacturing industry will enjoy a $360,000 boost thanks to a federal training grant awarded to Danville Area Community College.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity notified DACC last week of the grant award to implement the Industrial Career Pathways (ICP) program, according to a DACC release. The funds will provide short-term training opportunities for up to 75 unemployed and incumbent manufacturing workers.
DACC Executive Director Brian Hensgen, who applied for the grant to support the college’s management of the American Job Center (formerly the unemployment office), said in the release, “The intent is to build a sustainable, competency-based program to support local manufacturers.
“We’re helping local industry, and we’re helping train people for good jobs,” he said. “The training will be customized according to the unique needs of the manufacturing companies throughout the region.”
The ICP program provides a 40-hour mechanical skills curriculum, an OSHA 10-hour general industry credential and can be customized further to include lean manufacturing and basic communication skills.
Participants who complete the ICP program not only achieve a score for mechanical troubleshooting ability but also earn the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) to verify they possess the essential skills needed for a career in manufacturing.
Part of the ICP grant will be used to purchase training modules and specialized equipment, such as an assessment machine called a Standard Timing Model, which can assess the aptitude of prospective employees and train existing employees. The machine identifies many mechanical skills and an individual’s ability to troubleshoot mechanical problems that may encounter on the job.
Corporate Education Director Stephanie Yates sees the value of the program for employers that DACC supports with customized business training.
“The (standard timing model) can serve as an assessment tool used to identify mechanical skills and competencies for employees in manufacturing companies, including maintenance professionals, machine operators, electromechanical personnel, assemblers and technicians,” she said in the release. “There are varying degrees of assessment difficulty depending on the manufacturing company’s special needs. The program is 100 percent customizable.”
Of the 75 unemployed and incumbent workers the grant requires DACC to assess and train, at least 50 will be eligible to receive federal funding as dislocated workers or as those living in poverty. The other 25 will be employed workers.
Since the grant funds equipment and training models for the college, DACC will be able to sustain the program well beyond the three-year life of the grant.
DACC plans to launch the program by the summer. During the next few weeks, the college will bring in Standard Timing Model trainers to provide demonstrations for regional manufacturers and the public.