U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.3 Million to Expand Aviation Workforce Training Center at Southern Illinois Airport
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.3 million grant to the Southern Illinois Airport Authority, Carbondale, Illinois, to construct an additional hangar at Southern Illinois Airport to house aerospace-focused workforce training programs. The EDA grant, to be matched with $829,879 in local investment, is expected to create more than 60 jobs.
“Ensuring that communities have the trained workforce in place to support business growth is a top priority for the Trump Administration,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The expansion to the Southern Illinois Airport aviation training facility will prepare students for in-demand careers in the commercial aerospace industry.”
“Southern Illinois was impacted by severe flooding in 2019, and this investment will help develop a more diversified workforce and resilient regional economy,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “In partnership with Southern Illinois University, the airport will serve as a hub for commercial aerospace industries to locate, expand, and increase employment opportunities for students.”
“It’s critical for the federal government to continue investing in training programs that benefit students and workers looking to upgrade their skills,” said Senator Dick Durbin. “Federal investment in this new hangar facility, which will house aerospace-focused workforce training programs, will help fill in-demand jobs now, and prepare workers for the jobs of the future.”
“Investing in local workforce and job training programs is vital to the strength of local economies across our state,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth. “This federal funding for the Southern Illinois Airport will help bolster the local workforce and revitalize a part of our state in need of an economic boost, and I’ll keep working to advocate for important federal resources so the airport can continue to support good-paying jobs for hardworking Illinoisans.”
“Workforce training programs provide critical hands-on experience to students, and help create a pipeline of qualified employees for businesses,” said Congressman Mike Bost (IL-12). “This grant will help prepare students for future careers in the commercial aerospace industry.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20) (PDF), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage for more information.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.