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Training and Degree Programs

Illinois boasts an abundant, qualified workforce and is making investments to continue to build and maintain the workforce needed to fill good jobs in the future. Increasing the skills of the Illinois workforce is a win-win for residents and businesses. As the electric industry sees increasing demand, Illinois is committed to training a workforce of the future to maintain our state as a top destination for companies to grow and invest.

Climatic Center for Innovation and Research

The State has invested more than $20M in a new Climatic Center for Innovation and Research facility in Decatur, Illinois, which will allow for performance testing and simulations, all of which will be available to businesses in the electric vehicle industry. In partnership with Richland Community College, the training academy will offer a new workforce training and development program with a focus on EV advanced engineering, software technology, a STEM pathways program, and an accredited electrification apprenticeship.

Heartland Community College in Normal | Electric Vehicle-Energy Storage Manufacturing Training Academy

This first-of-its-kind EV manufacturing training program helps prepare residents and companies for electrification and workforce demands. Funded in part by the State’s $15 million Manufacturing Training Academies investment, the new Electric Vehicle Energy Storage (EVES) training program at Heartland Community College will provide customized job training, allowing students to enter, specialize, and advance their careers in advanced manufacturing and renewable energy through flexible combinations of courses, certificates, and degrees. This exciting program is made possible by a partnership with electric vehicle manufacturer, Rivian, which is expected to create an additional 1,600 jobs in the next two years alone. 

Heartland Community College has established relationships with five community colleges and K-12 schools throughout the region to expand portions of their Energy Storage curriculum to the regional population.  This program will allow for ongoing job recruitment of trained workers throughout the region and prepare Illinois to seize on the rapid growth of the EV industry.

Workforce Programs Through The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act

In September 2021, Governor Pritzker signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, monumental legislation that transformed the energy sector in Illinois.  The bill invests in training a diverse workforce for the jobs of the future that will launch clean energy workforce training hubs across the state; clean energy pre-apprenticeship training programs; clean energy contractor support programs; and much more. 

DCEO is collecting input on the Clean Jobs Curriculum which will be used in two new CEJA workforce training programs, the Clean Jobs Workforce Network Program Hubs and the Returning Residents Clean Jobs Training Program. The Clean Jobs Curriculum will create guidelines and benchmarks that will help CEJA training programs prepare Illinois’ workforce for jobs in the clean energy industry. The Hubs – which will be located in 13 areas defined in state statute - will administer the curriculum and offer training and certifications to help Illinoisans secure clean energy jobs. Interested parties can submit feedback through a survey or by email.

Illinois Universities and Community Colleges

Illinois is a magnet for the brightest minds.  Among the more than 200 higher education institutions in Illinois are some of the top colleges, universities and graduate programs in the nation, including more than 80 nationally ranked public high schools. 

Illinois’ universities and community colleges boast: 

  • According to U.S. News & World Report, Illinois has two of the top 10 universities in the nation, two of the top 20 engineering programs and two of the top 10 business schools. 

  • The University of Illinois graduates more engineers each year than MIT, Stanford and Cal Tech COMBINED.

  • Illinois graduates 24,000 STEM graduates annually and 40% of these graduates receive advanced degrees.

  • Illinois’ nine statewide public universities and 50 community colleges provide education and research opportunities for residents in every corner of the state.

  • Many of Illinois’ institutions partner with businesses and incubators to create custom skills-training programs, such as the UIUC Research Park, Argonne National Laboratory, and the Illinois Science and Tech Park.

Southern Illinois University's Department of Automotive Technology

One of the few baccalaureate automotive technology programs in the country supplying the industry.

Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN)

A consortium of community colleges working together to advance degree and certification programs in the clean energy economy.  Together, the consortium has developed clean energy education, installing the technologies, classrooms, and tools needed to provide job training for various academic areas in the clean energy sector.  Most recently, IGEN developed 32 online, open-source career degree and certification programs.