Grant gives Litchfield a regional vocational training center

LITCHFIELD — An $8.6 million grant will create a new regional vocational and technical training center in Litchfield for school districts in Macoupin and Montgomery counties.

The grant will be used to redevelop a warehouse in the city’s industrial park into a training center for high school students as well as displaced workers. It should be operational in the fall of 2023.

Funding for the grant was announced Monday by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Governor JB Pritzker.

The center will offer training in automotive technology, welding and trades-based apprenticeships. The warehouse will be upgraded to provide hands-on training that will include a full car garage, welding center and separate modules for different areas within the trades.

In cooperation with Lincoln Land Community College and Lewis and Clark Community College, students will have the opportunity to earn college credit and industry credentials while still in high school.

“Providing students and displaced workers with training opportunities to prepare them for well-paying jobs is a key economic development strategy and goal of the Pritzker administration,” Vice Governor Andy Manar said. “Establishing a training and innovation center will provide fantastic workforce opportunities for Litchfield and the surrounding region while solidifying the region as a training centre.”

The center should eventually add additional training areas designed to meet the demands of the workforce, including precision machining, computer certifications and agricultural technology.

“We are collectively thrilled and grateful for the grant that will allow us to partner with our neighboring K-12 districts, community colleges, and regional business partners to expand targeted skills development for students and displaced adult workers in the Montgomery and Macoupin counties,” Litchfield Schools Superintendent Gregg Fuerstenau said.

Milton S. Rodgers