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IMEC receives $4 million federal grant

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The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center at Bradley University has been awarded $4 million in federal funding, announced Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, D-17.

The funding is from the U.S. Department of Labor’s “America’s Promise” program and it will be used to establish and grow regional partnerships between workforce agencies, education and training providers and employees, Bustos said.

“Our region has a rich manufacturing history, and nothing is more important than creating good-paying jobs that can support a family,” she said. “I’m proud to announce federal funding to support workforce development programs because we need to ensure that people have the skills to succeed in today’s 21st century economy. Together, we must continue working to create jobs and grow Illinois’ manufacturing future.”

Bustos has been a strong proponent of our region’s manufacturing economy. In January, she hosted her annual Economic Summit, which focused on closing the skills gap facing many manufacturers. She also has introduced the Boosting America’s Exports Act, aiming to give small and medium sized businesses and manufacturers the tools they need to sell their American-made products in new markets.

IMEC was established in 1996 to improve the productivity and competitiveness of Illinois' small and mid-sized manufacturing firms. The center links the long-term plans and goals of its manufacturing partners with on-site implementation services by identifying performance gaps, solving these gaps, and building a culture to support sustained improvements. “We help optimize operating capacity, implement advanced product and process innovations, increase sales and enter new markets, and improve profitability,” the IMEC website says.

 “IMEC customizes every solution to address the client's specific needs, uses training to transfer knowledge and skills to the client's employees, and serves as a mentor and coach to sustain success,” it said. Follow-up and continuing discussions with clients are a big part of the program, to determine if objectives are being met.

The organization said that every dollar invested in its program generates $20 in client sales, cost savings and productivity improvements. “We are committed to providing a return on investment.”

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).