​WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.5 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Spoon River College, Canton, Illinois, to purchase training equipment and renovate the college’s Vocational & Technical Education Center (VOTEC). This EDA grant is expected to create 275 jobs, retain 125 jobs, and generate $500,000 in private investment.

“President Biden is laser-focused on fortifying American’s workforce so that our nation not only recovers from this pandemic but builds back stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment at Spoon River College will help close gaps in the talent pipeline for the region’s important manufacturing and logistics clusters and ensure future economic resilience.”

“The Economic Development Administration supports community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment will provide specialized training equipment and revamped facilities to enhance Spoon River College’s curriculum for workers in fields that will grow in the wake of the pandemic.”

“Here in Illinois, we know how important our community colleges are, not just for opening doors for individuals, but also maximizing economic growth across the state as a whole,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “From the get-go, the Biden-Harris Administration has identified our nation’s community college system as a major source of strength, and I am so grateful to see that commitment backed up by this significant investment in Spoon River College’s workforce development programs. As governor, I’m committed to building on Illinois’ long history of maintaining a high-quality, skilled workforce so we maintain our manufacturing prowess for generations to come, and this EDA grant will go a long way in supporting jobs in the Canton region.”

“Community colleges like Spoon River are uniquely positioned to help close the skills gap, put people back to work, and fill critical shortages at growing businesses and manufacturers,” said Senator Dick Durbin. “This EDA investment will help create jobs and bolster Central Illinois’ workforce as it recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud to support this federal funding and will continue advocating for strong investments in Illinois’ communities.”

“Our local communities and educational institutions have been hit hard by this pandemic,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth. “Federal investments like these help create opportunities that spur economic development and support colleges as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19. I will keep working to help secure additional investments that strengthen communities across our state.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) mission 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 to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.