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May 2, 2000


MATTOON-Governor George H. Ryan today toured the Lakeland College Workforce Development Center highlighting the facility as provider of community educational, training and employment referral options.

Ryan previously visited the site in 1988 as Lieutenant Governor, and presented a check to this center for a dislocated farm worker program. "That program laid the groundwork for future projects to bring services to the people instead of making the people go to government," Ryan said. "It was a good idea then-and it's a good idea now."

Governor Ryan commended area legislators, the Wal Mart Corporation and local business and labor for working in partnership to develop the program.

About 15 years ago, Wal Mart Corporation opened a store in Mattoon, Illinois. When they vacated the building several years later, two-thirds of the building was rented out to two retail stores, while one-third remained empty. Two years ago, Lake Land Community College officials approached Wal Mart Corporation about renovating and leasing the 27,540 square foot storefront. Wal Mart loaned Lake Land College the money needed for renovations and the cost of the lease. IDES, DCCA, and other partners then joined with Lake Land College to open an Illinois Employment and Training Center. The grand opening was held in1999.

Last year, Ryan created the Deputy Governor's Office of Education and Workforce Development to oversee the state's many educational, employment and training program to provide more efficient services to residents. The state will continue to work with business, labor, educators and community services to create more program like Lake Land Colleges' Center.

"We have secured funding for similar programs at Illinois Central College in Peoria, and a site at Richland College in Decatur, both of which provide the exact same services as this center. This is the kind of program we intend to duplicate across the state," Ryan said. "This is a single-point-of-service center. This is a great way to bring business, industry and labor to the table to help provide themselves with workers and give economic stability to the Mattoon area," he added.

Lake Land's one-stop center combines unemployment services with workforce training and education programs to assist the residents and businesses of East Central Illinois. The Center includes the Illinois Department of Employment Security, as well as Lake Land College's Dislocated Worker Program, Job Training Partnership Act, Center for Business and Industry, and Adult Education and Literacy Programs.

"This Center is a model for co-location of and collaboration among business, education, workforce, and government partners," Ryan said. "Services are seamlessly and efficiently provided utilizing state-of-the-art technology and an integrated staff structure," he added.

The state certified IETC provides access to the latest technology and resources for job-search assistance and training, as well as resources and referrals to anyone in need of re-employment assistance. In addition, the IETC serves area employers through recruitment initiatives and job-posting bulletins.


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