To further Illinois’ goal of at least 60 percent of the state’s workforce having a high-quality postsecondary education degree or other credential to meet the needs of the state’s economy by 2025, the Illinois General Assembly last year established the Higher Education Commission on the Future of the Workforce
. With representatives from government, higher education, business and industry, the commission examined current and projected workforce needs, identified higher education and business partners to address regional workforce demands, and recommended practices and policies to better align postsecondary degree production with the needs of the workforce around the state.
The panel’s recommendations
included providing technical assistance to help existing regional partnerships of postsecondary education and business and industry to scale up their efforts. USA Funds®
has provided more than $283,000 to support technical assistance from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
to four regions selected by the Illinois Board of Higher Education:
- Rockford and surrounding Winnebago County.
- Greater Egypt, which includes five counties and the cities of Carbondale, Marion and Mt. Vernon.
- Northeastern Illinois, including Lake, Cook, and McHenry Counties.
- Madison County.
The technical assistance — tailored for the unique issues facing each region — will help the four regions analyze industry needs, assess educational assets and enhance cooperation between educators and employers.
The initiative extends USA Funds partnerships with states, as laboratories for innovation in higher education and workforce development, while advancing USA Funds’ focus on helping students and working adults build more purposeful paths through postsecondary education and training to rewarding careers.