In this March 23, 2016, file photo, a Heartland Community College student walks through the Workforce Development Center on the campus in Normal.

STEVE SMEDLEY, Pantagraph file photo

NORMAL — A two-year, $383,000 grant from State Farm will be used for career training, career coaching and program development to meet labor needs in the community.

“The programs supported by these grant dollars are all about moving students into the workforce,” said Chris Downing, executive director of the heartland Foundation. “State Farm's commitment to Heartland is an investment in not only Heartland Community College, but also in the most valuable resource any employer needs: skilled people.”

President Rob Widmer said, “The emphasis is career training and career coaching.”

The college will use the money to help increase the number of people earning short-term certificates for jobs such as phlebotomist, certified nursing assistant, truck driver and pharmacy technician.

The money also will be used to provide students with coaching on skills such as time management, task management and financial stability.

In addition, the grant will enable the college to develop programs focused on the area's emerging business needs though curriculum development, syllabus creation and accreditation.

Widmer said details on how the money will be used are still being worked out.

The college most likely will build on existing programs that need additional resources, he said, but also will be available for new business workforce needs that arise.

“The support State Farm is providing will benefit individuals, employers and the economy across District 540,” said Widmer, referring to the area served by Heartland, stretching from Livingston to Logan counties. “This grant is targeted to Heartland programs that directly connect learners with valuable resources needed to foster a successful career.”

The career coaching will be incorporated into courses and possibly offered through workshops, small group sessions and online training, he said.

Annette Martinez, State Farm vice president of human resources, said, “This is our latest effort to help support the professional and educational needs of our community and make a sustained, positive difference in the lives of our neighbors in the Bloomington-Normal area.”

The State Farm Companies Foundation board approved the grant.

“We greatly appreciate State Farm's support and look forward to putting it to use,” said Widmer.

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Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter @Pg_Sobota



Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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