Amazon gives $500,000 for workforce development, education in Will County

Committee formed to determine criteria and opportunities for investment

The logistics giant Amazon donated $500,000 to the Community Foundation of Will County to invest in workforce development and education in the county.

The CFWC established an advisory committee with leaders in education, economic and workforce development to establish criteria and seek opportunities to invest the money, according to a release.

“This is an incredibly generous gift,” said Rod Tonelli, president of the CFWC, during a virtual news conference on Thursday.

David Livingston, the president of Lewis University in Romeoville, will chair the advisory committee. He said the members will work to identify where investments should be made in Will County to “meet the needs of the future economy.”

The other members include Governors State University President Cheryl Green, Will County Center for Economic Development President and CEO John Greuling, University of St. Francis President Arvid Johnson, Joliet Junior College President Judy Mitchell, Workforce Investment Board of Will County Director Caroline Portlock, Will County Regional Superintendent of Schools Shawn Walsh, along with Tonelli.

“Will County has proven itself to be a location of choice for world-class organizations like Amazon,” said Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, in a news release. “This generous investment in workforce development and the expertise of the Advisory Committee can help keep us in the lead by ensuring we have a workforce that can meet current and future opportunities.”

Amazon is the largest employer in Will County with more than 15,000 full and part-time workers. Sarah Galvin, Amazon’s Chicago senior manager of external affairs, said the investment is meant to foster innovation and make the county somewhere employees want to work and live.

“We’ve been growing throughout the region over the last 10 years and made a tremendous amount of investments there,” Galvin said.

The CFWC is the county’s charitable endowment, allowing for investment income to be used to promote philanthropic purposes focusing on health, education, human services and the arts.

For more, go to willcountycf.org.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.