Community partners traveled to West Michigan to identify best practices for apprenticeship expansion and local collaboration. Employers and community organizations discussed DEIA strategies; the community college shared public-private partnerships involvement in economic development and a trusted training provider; and the local workforce board provided insight into industry councils and apprenticeship expansion. Illinois partners included representatives from the local workforce board, local government, community college, and other stakeholders.
After learning about local apprenticeship expansion efforts, Kraft Heinz identified the Champaign facility as a pilot location for Kraft Heinz's registered apprenticeship for industrial maintenance technicians. The program, sponsored by Parkland College and Kraft Heinz, will be nationally registered by Jobs for the Future after the pilot phase. Extensive discussions and reviews with local and corporate teams have culminated in accepting the work process schedule and training instruction. The goal is to have students enrolled by the Spring semester of 2024, with the latest target being the Fall semester of the same year.
The Integrated Business Services Team (IBST) in East Central Illinois was recently organized and met in person for the first time in September of 2023. In collaboration with Apprenticeship Illinois, the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission coordinates local stakeholders and partners in the workforce development system to improve employers' engagement and deliver business services. Representatives from the East Central Illinois Workforce Board, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois Department of Human Service Division of Rehabilitation Services, Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, Parkland College, and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Regional Economic Development Team attended the first meeting. Members of the local IBST are participating in strategic planning over the fall and early spring to implement the foundational elements and structural components of an IBST that the Illinois Workforce Investment Board suggested.
In Quarter 3 of 2023, local partners (East Central Illinois Workforce Board, Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, Parkland College, IMEC, and Jobs for the Future) collaborated with Apprenticeship Illinois to host an "apprenticeship accelerator" for area employers. The event presented information on registered apprenticeships, the workforce development system, and training providers. The event was well-attended, and many employers were interested in follow-up conversations.