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IECC and DCEO Officials Discuss Proposed Southern Illinois Auto Tech Workforce Initiative


Pictured, from left, are Illinois Eastern Community Colleges CEO Terry Bruce, Wabash Valley College President Dr. Matt Fowler, DCEO Deputy Director for Business Development Victor Narusis, DCEO Southern Region Senior Account Manager Kim Watson, Lincoln Trail College President Dr. Ryan Gower, Olney Central College President Rodney Ranes, Frontier Community College President Dr. Jay Edgren, State Rep. David Reis and DCEO Southeast Region Manager Patrick Pape.

State Rep. David Reis brought together officials from Illinois Eastern Community Colleges and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to discuss efforts to coordinate regional workforce training to meet industry needs.

On Tuesday, DCEO officials were in Olney to talk about the proposed Southern Illinois Auto Tech Workforce Initiative (SIATWI) with Illinois Eastern Community Colleges CEO Terry Bruce, and college presidents, Dr. Jay Edgren, Frontier; Dr. Ryan Gower, Lincoln Trail; Rodney Ranes, Olney Central; and Dr. Matt Fowler, Wabash Valley.

SIATWI is designed to encourage auto industry growth in the state and to meet the expanding workforce training needs of Southern Illinois’ existing automotive-related businesses. Training would be driven by participating company needs and provided through a public-private training partnership.

Under the initial plan, training would occur at existing educational institutions, other agreed locations and at a new facility on the Continental Tire campus in Mt. Vernon.

The DCEO has been meeting with Southern Illinois automotive-related manufacturers and educational institutions to share the proposal. Reis and legislative assistant J. C. Kowa facilitated this week’s conversation with the DCEO’s Victor Narusis, Deputy Director for Business Development; Kim Watson, Southern Region Senior Account Manager; and Patrick Pape, Southeast Region Manager.

The DCEO’s visit to the area also included tours of North American Lighting in Flora and Champion Laboratories in Albion.