NORMAL — Wednesday’s announcement of the advanced manufacturing training academy to be created at Heartland Community College was met with excitement and pride.
Heartland is receiving a $7.5 million grant from the state, which will be matched by $1.5 million in private employer commitments, to develop an Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy, which Heartland is calling EVES.
“We are excited for the college but, more importantly, we’re excited for the community,” said Heartland President Keith Cornille.
He credited partnerships not only with Rivian but other manufacturers, large and small, with helping to land the state grant.
“This is a jumping-off point,” he said, but “we’re not stopping here. We’re going to continue to reach out to other avenues” to expand offerings in areas such as robotics and other advanced manufacturing techniques.
Normal Mayor Chris Koos said, “I think we’re going to see more manufacturers in the community.”
Although Rivian was the focus of the announcement, Hoban also pointed to growth at Ferrero and the Brandt Group of Companies, which all need workers trained in automation and other modern manufacturing methods.
About $1.7 million of $3.65 million received in federal COVID-19 relief funds will go toward covering costs of pandemic mitigation measures, virus testing, remote learning/working software and other related costs, the Heartland Community College board of trustees learned at its meeting Tuesday.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker stood with Jim Chen, left, Rivian vice president of public policy and chief regulatory council; Heartland College President Keith Cornille; Brian Durham, deputy director of the Illinois Community College Board; and State Rep. Dan Brady as Pritzker announced funding for a $7.5 million electric vehicle education center at Heartland Community College on Wednesday.