U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.5 Million to Boost the Agriculture Industry and Workforce in LaSalle County, Illinois
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.5 million grant to Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC), Oglesby, Illinois, to construct a new agriculture education facility.
This grant will allow IVCC to train and upskill agriculture workers, aid in the development of new technology, and develop sustainable practices. The EDA investment will be matched with $1.1 million in local funds and is expected to create 100 jobs, retain 15 jobs and generate $500,000 in private investment, according to grantee estimates.
“President Biden is committed to supporting local efforts to create new opportunities and jobs in communities facing nuclear plant closures,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This investment in LaSalle County will create jobs in the region and help diversify the local economy.”
“The Economic Development Administration is pleased to support Illinois Valley Community College’s efforts to leverage the agriculture industry to promote job growth,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This investment will broaden and grow the local economy after layoffs at both the LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station and Dresden Nuclear Generating Station.”
“The state of Illinois serves as the standard bearer for the agriculture industry,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois Valley Community College solidifies that status by operating as a pipeline for skilled agriculture workers in and around LaSalle County. By investing in new facilities, the creation of new technology, and the implementation of sustainable methods, we can build on our state’s proud agricultural tradition while creating good paying jobs.”
“There is big growth in career opportunities for new graduates who have skills in agricultural technologies and sciences, and Illinois Valley Community College is leading the way,” said Senator Dick Durbin. “This investment will create jobs across the region, and I’ll keep supporting these federal efforts that allow our agriculture industry to thrive.”
“Illinois has long been a leader on the international stage for agricultural production, and this federal support will go a long way to helping expand educational and training opportunities so our state can remain competitive in agricultural industries at home and abroad,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth.
This project is being funded under EDA’s Assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities program. Closures of nuclear power plants throughout the United States have had a significant impact on the economic foundations of surrounding communities through sudden job losses and a reduction to the local tax base. EDA has a strong history of working with communities facing structural economic adjustments, including those impacted by nuclear power plant closures. In FY 2020, EDA is deploying $15 million appropriated to the agency to support communities impacted by nuclear plant closures.
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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.