From McHenry County College:
McHenry County College Receives State Support to Build New State-of-the-Art Facility
for Technology, Manufacturing, Innovation Careers
[August 7, 2020. Crystal Lake, IL] A new 41,000 sf career and technical building for McHenry County College (MCC) is one of 15 community college initiatives receiving funding from the state of Illinois to support educational efforts that will help incentivize the economy.
In a press release issued on Thursday, August 6, 2020, Governor Pritzker announced that MCC’s new Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation (CATI) project will receive $15.8 million as part of his administration’s Rebuild Illinois capital plan, which emphasizes the importance of investing in education to fuel economic development.
The College has needed this center for some time. Nearly 15 years ago, it was added to a state list of potential projects in an effort to expand manufacturing programming that would create a pipeline of skilled workers for the county. Since then, MCC has continued to grow numerous, in-demand career and technical programs in partnership with industry, including its most recent apprenticeship program opportunities. While the way in which students learn has evolved during this 15-year window, the demand and need for technical skills is just as critical today.
“In our nationwide effort to improve record unemployment numbers, the time is now to build this space that will help create economic stimulus,” said MCC president, Dr. Clint Gabbard. “We firmly believe that MCC’s Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation will lead to job renewal and growth for both the county and our region by offering skills that can be used for a lifetime.”
The CATI building will combine “old” and “new” skills, opening its educational doors to both existing programs and the newest career and technical learning, including: HVAC; Welding; Logistics; CNC Machining; Engineering Technology; Advanced Manufacturing; Industrial Maintenance; Mechatronics; Metrology; and Artificial Intelligence. With additional space accommodating an Entrepreneurial Center, Fabrication Lab, and Maker Space, the CATI will offer the promise of being an epicenter for community entrepreneurial engagement, emerging workforce inspiration, and economically meaningful teaching and training.
“We have a vision for the CATI that is focused completely on connection,” said Gabbard. “This will be a hub where students gain the necessary advanced technology skills to keep our nation running, where our industry partners collaborate, and where small businesses and entrepreneurs build ideas and solve problems,” he added.
“The Board enthusiastically supports the development of MCC’s Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation,” shared MCC Board of Trustees Chair, Mike Smith. “We believe that the CATI will be an extraordinary catalyst for job skill development and economic growth throughout McHenry County. We look forward to seeing a diverse population of students from across our region leverage this state-of-the-art facility to develop new and innovative skills that will lead to a lifetime of success in their chosen fields of endeavor.”
The overall project cost for the CATI is just under $22 million. With the state contributing nearly 75% of that total cost, MCC will fund the remaining $6 million through a combination of philanthropic donations and existing college funds that were previously allocated for this specific project, ensuring that there is no additional financial burden on MCC students or taxpayers.
“A center with this prospective magnitude of economic development impact is needed now, at this very moment,” emphasized Gabbard. “The growth of our manufacturing and technology sectors, the growth of an inspired, trained workforce, and the growth of a population of individuals and families more firmly grounded in living in this state, are all at stake with long delays. MCC is anxious to play a key part in this economic progress of our county.”
While the detailed timeframe of the building project is still being finalized, a formal bid process to complete design plans for the CATI will take place this fall.