A network of 48 community colleges across the state is reaching out to Illinois employers to help them meet the challenges of a tough economy and build a workforce for the future.
The Illinois Community College’s Training Resource and Information Network — popularly known as weTRaIN — is the largest provider of workforce development training in Illinois. Its membership includes 39 community college districts and 48 community college training centers serving nearly 3,000 companies each year.
The Capital City Training Center (CCTC) at Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) is a member of the weTRaIN network.
“One out of every two Illinois corporations trusts weTRaIN members to deliver their workforce training needs,” according to weTRaIN President Jennifer Scheri, a Business Services Training Specialist at Illinois Valley Community College. “Our members are committed to the success of business, industry, government, and healthcare organizations throughout the state.”
The organization underwent a metamorphosis last fall as it muscled up to help Illinois employers navigate the dual challenges of increasing overseas competition and a depressed domestic economy. Today, weTRaIN has a new look, a new website and a number of new outreach tools that it is using to get the word out to Illinois employers about the vast training resources that are available to them through their local community college.
“weTRaIN is the largest resource for training in the state of Illinois and a true one-stop shop for business education and information,” noted Scheri. “The Business and Industry Center at your local community college has information on grants and business development resources, customized and contract training programs, access to world-class leadership and professional development programs and specialized skill training that assures workforce continuity.”
“As an organization, weTRaIN is working to give local companies a better understanding of what their local community college can do for them and the power of the statewide community college network,” she added. “There are many ways to use the resources of a community college that they may not have thought of.”
Both individually and through their affiliation with the statewide network, weTRaIN member colleges provide trainers and curricula that are designed to fulfill the workforce development and training needs of Illinois employers. Sample training platforms include Quality and Process Improvement; Creating Maximum Process Efficiency through ISO, Six Sigma and more; Leadership and Professional Development; Manufacturing Systems and Technical Skills; Computers; and Occupational Safety;
Some of the network’s most popular programs include manufacturing skills training and cross-platform technology skills development. Multi-generational training teams work to assure that high demand precision skills such as welding do not become scarce as Baby Boomer workers begin to retire from careers spanning more than 30 years in manufacturing.
“Our members have a keen sense for what local companies need to remain successful and competitive in the years ahead,” Scheri said. “That begins with partnership and collaboration between each community college and the companies in its district and continues with the collaboration and resource sharing that the weTRaIN system facilitates between the member colleges.”
“It is no wonder that weTRaIN is the largest training provider in Illinois and has been for some time now,” she noted.
During the period of July 1 to December 31, 2008, weTRaIN member organizations served 1,343 business, industry and healthcare clients with training involving 34,323 participants. Collectively, weTRaIN member colleges serve an average of 5,043 Illinois firms each year with training involving more than 120,000 participants. (Data gathered over an eight-year period, 2000 - 2008). The weTRaIN client list includes many of Illinois’ largest and most successful companies.
The network new website made its debut in April. It is a great resource for training information and the gateway to the 48 weTRaIN member colleges. An interactive map makes it easy to identify the closest weTRaIN services provider.
A free electronic newsletter, The Advisor, keeps weTRaIN clients, partners and constituents up to date with network resources, programs and developments. Recent features include strategies for stretching training dollars in a tight economy and inspiring examples of network collaboration and resourcefulness. It is available by contacting your local community college or by subscribing at www.wetrainillinois.org.
“We are seeing huge gains in awareness for the network and its offering as Illinois companies sit up and take notice,” said Scheri. “There really is strength in numbers.”
As the largest training provider in the state, the Illinois Community Colleges weTRaIN network provides easy and affordable access to world-class training, resources, and support services. The network is supported by 150 statewide representatives working in partnership with some of the nation’s top training firms.
Your gateway to Illinois’ largest training provider: www.wetrainillinois.org