Illinois Valley Community College has learned it will be the recipient of a $3.5 million U.S. Department of Economic Development Administration grant to construct a new agriculture education facility.
The grant will cover about 80% of the cost of an ag classroom and lab building south of campus. Two years ago, IVCC opened phase 1 of its ag complex, a 60-by-100 foot storage facility to house tractors, tillage tools, planters and other high-tech equipment.
IVCC President Jerry Corcoran lauded the EDA news and said the college hopes to be in the building for classes by 2024.
Regarding the construction timeline, Vice President for Business Services and Finance Matt Seaton saidfinal designs could be ready within three months.
“After that, we would proceed to construction,” Seaton said. “If everything lines up as we hope, we should be complete in 12-to-18 months.”
This grant will allow IVCC to train and upskill agriculture workers, aid in the development of new technology, and develop sustainable practices. The grant will be matched by $1.1 million from IVCC and is expected to create 100 jobs, retain 15 jobs and generate $500,000 in private investment, according to college estimates.
“President Biden is committed to supporting local efforts to create new opportunities and jobs in communities facing nuclear plant closures,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This investment in La Salle County will create jobs in the region and help diversify the local economy.”
“The EDA is pleased to support IVCC’s efforts to leverage the agriculture industry to promote job growth,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This investment will broaden and grow the local economy after layoffs at both the La Salle County Nuclear Generating Station and Dresden Nuclear Generating Station.”
The project is funded under EDA’s Assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities program. Closures of nuclear power plants throughout the U.S. have had a significant impact on the economic foundations of surrounding communities through sudden job losses and a reduction to the local tax base.
EDA works with communities facing structural economic adjustments, including those impacted by nuclear power plant closures.
“Illinois serves as the standard bearer for the agriculture industry. IVCC solidifies that status by operating as a pipeline for skilled agriculture workers in and around La Salle County,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “By investing in new facilities, the creation of new technology, and the implementation of sustainable methods, we can build on our state’s proud agricultural tradition while creating good paying jobs.”