Parkland College students who recently graduated from a state-funded workforce equity program have moved immediately into local trades apprenticeships to continue training.
By their July 23 graduation from the Support for Workforce Training-General Construction Pre-Apprenticeship program (SWFT-GCPA), the following students have been accepted into 3-year apprenticeships with Laborers' Local 703: Brandin Whiteside (Champaign), Dorothy Porter (Paxton), Tyson Moore (Champaign), Teva Lasley (Bloomington), and Graciela Manriquez (Champaign).
"We extend our congratulations to our SWFT-GCPA students on this accomplishment," said Stephanie Stuart, vice president for communications and external affairs. "This group of students met an opportunity with hard work and determination, resulting in success during one of the most challenging times in modern history. Their story is a testament to the limitless potential of our students and the effectiveness of equity-focused workforce initiatives like the Workforce Equity Initiative. We thank the legislature for its foresight in creating this statewide initiative that will accelerate the recovery of our state’s workforce through an equity lens."
Backed by a $1.5 million Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) grant, Parkland's Support for Workforce Training Program aims to help more than 150 district residents move into high-demand careers with family-sustaining wages within a year or less. Parkland College was one of 15 community colleges selected to take part last year in the $18.5 million WEI, which aims to train 1,500 adults statewide for jobs in areas with a high demand for workers. The WEI was designed to address historic underrepresentation of African Americans in high-demand, high-wage careers, thus requiring 60 percent of Parkland's SWFT participants to be Black.
The SWFT-GCPA program helps increase the number of underrepresented people in the high-wage construction building trades which are currently experiencing a skilled labor shortage. Training consists of an intensive 14-week training period to learn the skills necessary for acceptance into the construction trades and the opportunity for a career with high wage-earning potential.
SWFT Program Manager Jessie McClusky praised the graduates' persistence to complete the pre-apprenticeship program and the subsequent results. "We are all proud of the accomplishment and success of our General Construction students," she said. "The students' belief in themselves, adaptability, and perseverance, paired with the support of staff and instructors, truly cultivated a life-changing experience amidst a time of uncertainty. For some, this opportunity would not have been possible without the SWFT funding through the WEI."
For more information about SWFT, please visit www.parkland.edu/swft or contact the SWFT Program office at 217/353-2149.