Josh Bullock Lake Land College President
Lake Land College kicked off Manufacturing Month by celebrating a new partnership with Kubota Tractor Corporation providing new career opportunities for students while creating a pipeline of talented technicians for area dealerships.
Starting this fall, students enrolled in Lake Land’s Diesel and Ag Power program will have the opportunity to earn eight industry-recognized portable and stackable certifications through the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3). Graduates who earn these CL3 credentials will qualify for Kubota technician careers at one of Kubota’s 1,100 dealerships nationwide.
This partnership is directly aligned with the goal of the college’s 2023-2027 strategic plan to expand corporate partnerships, workplace learning opportunities and apprenticeship programs. Additionally, the Kubota program aligns directly with Lake Land’s commitment to creating stackable, transferable degree programs that provide students with the skills needed to succeed in business, while creating a pipeline of talent for businesses in the region.
Training students and tenured employees for the manufacturing jobs of the future is critical to our region, our state and our country. The Lake Land College District is deeply rooted in manufacturing with 20,000 jobs, nearly double the national average according to the Data for Decision Makers report. Beyond our district, there are 800,000 manufacturing jobs open nationwide, according to the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA). The IMA also warns that we are at a critical moment in history, when approximately 300,000 employees begin to retire.
While collecting data for the new strategic plan, the college learned from over 1,200 stakeholders that the top workforce challenges in our region are recruiting skilled workers, retaining workers and recruiting entry-level workers.
To address these challenges, the Lake Land College Center for Business and Industry is working with area businesses to expand apprenticeship programs that provide personalized training for students while they learn on the job, as well as to address shortages. labor force and growing skills gaps.
Lake Land College is grateful to partner with Effingham and Mattoon in a shared commitment to providing high school students with learning experiences with manufacturing careers through Manufacturing Days, Effingham Regional Career Academy (ERCA ), Leaders Innovating for Tomorrow (LIFT) at Mattoon, and new dual credit programs in Automotive and Welding.
Manufacturing Month is a great time for business, community and educational leaders to join forces and develop creative ways to educate parents and students about the earning potential of technologically advanced manufacturing fields. I look forward to brainstorming strategies and creating new manufacturing partnerships that will help your business meet the labor demands of tomorrow.
Josh Bullock is president of Lake Land College.