A look back at 2010: Education & Workforce Development

The fourth in our series of articles highlighting the remarks of GREDF Board Chairperson, Connie Schroeder at our 2011 Annual Meeting.

A look back at EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT in the Tri-States in 2010…

[share] Quincy University’s confidence in the future is displayed in the $5.2 million dollar, 92-room dormitory taking shape on campus. Students will begin living in the new suite-style dorm in the fall. Q.U. welcomed its largest incoming class in 15 years at the start of the fall semester.

Enrollment is also up at Culver Stockton College and Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing. Culver experienced a 26 percent jump from the 2009 to 2010 academic year. Blessing-Rieman is up 10 percent over last year and enrollment has increased 30 percent over the last six years. A change in name for Hannibal-LaGrange University signifies that area school’s commitment to the future.

In June Jim Mentesti delivered the commencement address to Vatterott College graduates. I’d like to share with you a portion of his remarks, and I quote, “As an economic developer, I am especially pleased with who I see before me. You’re making my job easier. The skills you now have make it easier for me to encourage our manufacturers, service industries and hospitals to grow and expand. Knowing they will have qualified individuals to fill new job openings makes a difference. A quality workforce, that’s you, also helps me attract new business and industry to our area,” end quote.

John Wood Community College is a valued partner in workforce development as well. At a little over a year old, the college’s state-of-the-art workforce development center houses a number of the seventeen career training and workforce education programs which include truck driver training, fire science, health education, electrical technology, restaurant management, construction technology and sustainable local foods.

In response to workforce demand, the College has launched customized training in aluminum welding in addition to its current welding program. A number of local companies including Manchester Tank and ADM are working with John Wood to develop programs specific to their workforce needs. All of these initiatives contribute to the College’s role as an essential partner in workforce development and retention. We’d like to thank John Wood’s Dean of Career and Technology Workforce Education and former GREDF Chairman, Phil Conover, for the work he continues to do in partnership with GREDF making retention calls throughout the year to area businesses.

2010 was a busy year for GREDF and the Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois. Our partnership with WIB is a strong alliance that fosters economic development by maintaining a dynamic workforce development environment. A number of initiatives took shape. We completed a survey of area businesses’ workforce needs. Companies answered questions about what issues they are facing and what help they need to meet current demand and expand. As a result, a number of companies were referred to the Workforce Investment Board for funding to assist in employee training.

I would like to welcome some special guests tonight. WIB, YP Quincy and GREDF are working with area students to help them identify career and employment opportunities within the community. These young people will be touring companies, meeting with young professionals and getting the help they need to pursue training and education. Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please stand and be recognized? Thank you. And thank you also to Blanche Shoupe of the Workforce Investment Board and Shelby Crow of YP Quincy and the Tri-State Development Summit for your work.