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Undecided? Consider a career in the trades

by Dr. Nancy Sweet, dean, Workforce Institute at Lincoln Land Community College
Nancy Sweet

Finding a career path that not only interests you, but has high demand, longevity and high wages can be challenging — and sort of scary if you are not sure about your options. If you are the type that prefers to not be in a traditional office job, the opportunities at the Workforce Institute at Lincoln Land Community College may be the path for you.  

The Workforce Institute offers hands-on training in trades programs such as HVACR, line worker, auto tech, electrical maintenance and construction as well as training in the hospitality and culinary field. The current demand for these careers both locally and nationally is incredible and continues to grow. Every day we continue to hear about worker shortages, especially in the trades. These training programs at the Workforce Institute at LLCC can help you become a trained, essential worker to meet the current workforce demands. 

HVACR (heating, cooking, air conditioning and refrigeration) is a job that has a wide range of career opportunities outside of the traditional path of a technician. General building maintenance, sheet metal work, restaurant equipment repair and industrial maintenance are all careers that utilize the skills learned in our HVAC program with vast employment options across central Illinois and beyond.  

Looking to be outside but also have no fear of heights? Learn to climb electrical poles, repair electrical lines and be a hero when you help make the power come back on after a storm. This skilled trade is for those who enjoy working outside and can handle stressful situations, but the pay off financially is significant.  

Enjoy technology and solving problems? Today’s automotive technicians are computer sleuths, tracking down diagnostic solutions to complex problems on highly technical advanced vehicles, where electrical knowledge is one of the most important skills. From combustion engines to diesel trucks to the new electrical vehicles, those who like to stay on top of changing technology will do well in the auto industry.  

Illinois continues to grow and expand infrastructure, and without skilled building construction and electrical tradesman, we can’t build the roads, bridges and buildings that we need. From residential to commercial, public sector to private sector, the demand for carpenters, operating engineers and commercial electricians increases daily as many baby boomers in the field continue to retire.  

In 2023, the global hospitality market reached nearly $4.7 trillion and was forecasted to grow to $5.8 trillion by 2027, with close to a 10% growth in workforce needs. The state-of-the-art, hands-on hospitality and culinary programs at LLCC can set you apart as in industry professional with the skills to go anywhere in the world. This vast industry ranges from world-class hotels and restaurants to catering, country clubs, cruise ships, event planning and the wide array of wine, beer and spirit professionals.  

Do any of these opportunities spark an interest? Visit to learn more. You can also give us a call at 217-786-2407 to set up a time to see our facilities and learn more about how one of these programs might be a fit for you. Registration is open now to start classes in January.