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SIC breaks ground on Carmi training center

Breaking ground on the Stanford D. Williams Career & Training Center are (l-r) Dr. Pat York...
Breaking ground on the Stanford D. Williams Career & Training Center are (l-r) Dr. Pat York (SIC Board Chair), Carmi Mayor Jeff Pollard, Lance Barbre (SIC Foundation Board), Stan Williams, and SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice.(Southeastern Illinois College)
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 1:26 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2022 at 4:38 PM CDT
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CARMI, Ill. (KFVS) - A crowd gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for a new career and technical education center at Southeastern Illinois College.

The ceremony was Tuesday, April 19 at 10 a.m. at the David L. Stanley White County Center, 1700 College Ave. in Carmi.

According to a news release from SIC, the new Stanford D. Williams Career and Training Center will be the regional hub for career and workforce educational needs in the northern region of SIC’s district.

It will include training for welding, CDL, auto and diesel programs and more.

Southeastern Illinois College President Dr. Jonah Rice said this center will provide vital career and technical education for much of the local industry in the area.

“There’s a lot of manufacturing here in Illinois and even some across the river into Indiana but there is just a real need for more career and technical education programs,” Rice said. “So, we’re going to support local industry and hopefully grow more local industry.”

Rice said they are very excited to see this project get off the ground after so many years.

Pictured is an architectural drawing of what the new “Stanford D. Williams Career and Training...
Pictured is an architectural drawing of what the new “Stanford D. Williams Career and Training Center” will look like when completed after construction slated to wrap up in December 2023. The center will be a regional hub for career education such as welding, auto, CDL, and the trades.(Southeastern Illinois College)

“We are so excited by this project,” Rice said. “It’s been on the books for about 20 years and we’re just so pleased that the state finally came through with their funding. The board’s been committed with their part for a long time and of course the private donation from Stan Williams just pushed us over the top. So we are elated to be able to have this groundbreaking ceremony today and look forward to seeing the construction project up and running here in about a week.”

Rice also said this facility is going to provide training for students in high school and those out of high school.

“To train them for really good paying jobs in career and technical education,” Rice said. “Many times those jobs are overlooked. They require highly skilled technicians and we can get you through in just a matter of months or just a couple of years for a degree that will pay dividends for the rest of your life.”

“Carpenters, plumbers, they were all family-owned businesses that really they don’t hand them down to their family members anymore,” Carmi Mayor Jeff Pollard said. “So this is going to be a huge asset for us that people can actually come here and get a training and get trade for something like that where they can have their own business.”

Speakers for the event included Dr. Karen Weiss, SIC vice president of Academic and Student Affairs; President Dr. Jonah Rice; Dr. Pat York, SIC Board Chair; Lance Barbre, SIC Foundation Board executive officer; Carmi Mayor Jeff Pollard; and Stan Williams, Carmi businessman and guest of honor.

“The college looks to partner with local K-12 schools that have asked for career dual-credit opportunities,” said Lance Barbre, 17-year member of the SIC Foundation Board and senior vice president of First Financial Services in Carmi. “Along with the local schools, the college has met with and received vital input from local industries such as Elastec, Marshall Electric, and Toyota.”

Barbre went on to explain that the curriculum will include welding, commercial driver’s license, and auto/diesel programs, as well as introductory education to electrical, plumbing and carpentry.

Following the ceremony, a reception was held in the David L. Stanley White County Center.

According to SIC, they anticipate the two phases of the construction will be mostly completed near December 2023.

They said state and local funds of around $4.9 million will be combined with a $505,667 gift from Williams to bring this long-awaited center to fruition.

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