consortiumSPRINGFIELD - Students in Macoupin County will have access to new tech education equipment and training facilities with the help of a recently delivered $2 million state grant advocated by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) intended to support capital improvements and much-needed equipment upgrades for the Southern Macoupin Consortium for Innovation and Career Pathways.

Formed in 2019 to serve students without access to vocational education training, the consortium allows six Macoupin County school districts to share facilities and resources for their respective career and technical education programs to offer students new opportunities.

“Tech education is vital to the economic future of our community,” said Manar, who secured the grant as a lead negotiator of the state’s bipartisan budget. “I’m pleased that the state is doing its part to ensure Macoupin County students have access to the high-quality vocational training and equipment that is relevant to today’s industries.”

The grant money was delivered in December and divided among the six schools based on enrollment: Bunker Hill, Carlinville, Gillespie, Mt. Olive, Staunton and Southwestern.



Grant dollars

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Over the next few months, districts will purchase equipment and make significant facility upgrades in order to expand and improve career and tech education programs. Examples include virtual welders, vinyl printers, z-space equipment for auto mechanics and industrial arts, electrical upgrades to the facility, metals machines, equipment to offer digital communication classes, additions to vocational buildings for more classroom space, ventilation to expand welding and food science courses, glow forge and drafting computers.

In addition, the schools are looking at purchasing distance learning equipment to be able to broadcast courses to other classrooms.

“Many of our CTE spaces are outdated and original to the buildings. Ventilation, electrical upgrades, and expansion are essential,” Carlinville School District Superintendent Becky Schuchman said. “We believe the grant will allow not only the schools to work toward more workforce development but also allow our rural communities to grow and attract industry.”

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