NORMAL - The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on Sep 29th, joined Heartland Community College to break ground on its new state-of-the-art Electric Vehicle Energy Storage (EVES) Manufacturing Training Academy (MTA) facility. Funded in part by a $7.5 million capital grant as part of the state’s larger $15 million MTA investment– the EVES training facility will prepare students to meet the growing needs of the Illinois’ expanding EV industry.
State officials celebrated the groundbreaking during Illinois EV Week
– a weeklong celebration designed to raise awareness about Illinois’ growing EV ecosystem – including the benefits of driving an electric vehicle as well as choosing Illinois to locate or grow EV businesses.
“Illinois’ greatest strength is its people—and we are committed to preparing our workforce for the jobs of the future,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I can think of no better time than Illinois EV Week to break ground on Heartland Community College’s new Electric Vehicle Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy. This is the kind of investment that builds a more economically prosperous and environmentally sustainable future for all Illinoisans.”
Heartland’s EVES program - which launched at a temporary site in August of 2021- provides students with training, certificates, and degrees in Electric Vehicle (EV) and Energy Storage (ES) Technology. The program also provides intensive upskill Electric Vehicle Technology Certificates for individuals with prior traditional automotive training and experience.
“Supporting Illinois’ workforce is paramount as we work to reduce emissions and build out our state’s clean energy economy,” said DCEO Director Sylvia I. Garcia. “Innovative training opportunities like EVES meet the needs of our growing EV sector, while also providing equitable career opportunities to underserved populations and supporting economic development.”
The groundbreaking marks the beginning of construction on the facility, with expected completion in late 2023. The construction of the new 45,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility will support approximately 200 construction jobs.
“As the makeup of our regional workforce has changed, we have seen an increasing need for specialized skill training in areas such as advanced manufacturing,” said Heartland Community College President Keith Cornille. “With this facility we will have more resources to meet the advanced manufacturing workforce in programs such as Electric Vehicle Technology and High-Voltage Energy Storage Technology. Eighty percent of Heartland graduates in career programs find employment. By expanding these educational pathways, we will help students find a job, have an opportunity to upskill for a better job, and a career.”
The EVES MTA program exemplifies partnership between businesses, regional and local economic development organizations, and education partners – creating a true ecosystem designed to provide training in areas that grow our workforce and meet the needs of area industries, such as EV manufacturer Rivian.
Illinois’ investment in the EVES program is part of the State’s larger strategy of building a clean energy economy and growing the EV ecosystem. As part of these efforts, Illinois has invested in unique partnerships that grow jobs and provide opportunities for businesses to collaborate. Recently, Illinois announced
an investment in the Climatic Center for Innovation & Research Facility in central Illinois as part of its first REV award. The center – which will be hosted at T/CCI with training administered in partnership with Richland Community College - will provide innovative training programs and state-of-the-art facilities for research and development, which includes a full-scale climactic center for testing and simulations.
Additionally, through the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), Illinois is also building a first-of-its kind statewide clean energy jobs training program through approximately $180 million in investments per year designed to bolster Illinois' qualified and diverse workforce in the clean energy and EV sectors while supporting communities.