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Education & Training

The Riverbend region has made a commitment to developing a job training system that meets the needs of both employers and workers in an increasingly complex economy. The flexibility of various state and federal funding sources allows programs to be designed and implemented in response to these specific needs. The flexible funding package available in Illinois could allow for any reasonable training-related expenses. For example, allowable expenses might include costs of:

  • Designing training curricula
  • Purchasing training materials
  • Recruitment, screening and testing of employees
  • Instructors'/trainers' wages
  • Leasing training facilities
  • Up to 50 percent of a company's total training costs

Working smart is what gives companies an advantage in today's competitive environment. In the Riverbend Region, our employers keep the technical, management, and human relations skills of their workforce up-to-date by using our competent and strong training system. It's the smart choice, and training programs can be made available to provide assistance for each of the various work groups (i.e., office and administration, supervisors and hourly workers) employed. The key to establishing a comprehensive training package is to blend the training programs listed below to meet the specific needs of a particular company. The State of Illinois, Madison County, the RiverBend Growth Association, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Lewis and Clark Community College are committed to working together to develop a comprehensive recruitment, referral and training program to meet the specific needs of the business community.

The major universities in the St. Louis region are: Principia College, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Saint Louis University, Washington University, Maryville University, Lindenwood University (with an additional campus in Belleville IL), and Webster University.

  • Training is customized for your operation and provided at your convenience -at your company or in our fully equipped classrooms.
  • Graduates of our career programs have the skills and attributes to become valuable employees.
  • In addition to academic training, our certified instructors have several years of occupational experience and technical competence in their fields.
  • Up-to-date equipment is used in training.
  • Your workforce gets the training it needs --from basic skills, to technical training on today's highly computerized equipment, to Total Quality Management.
  • You can turn to the technical colleges for technical assistance in evaluating, operating and troubleshooting the latest equipment for your industry.
  • Training results are monitored for effectiveness in the workplace.
  • Our commitment to economic development means fees are reasonable. We want you to succeed, be profitable, and employ Illinois citizens.

The major vocational schools in the St. Louis region are: Lewis and Clark Community College, Southwestern Illinois College, Ranken Technical Institute, Missouri Technical School, Metropolitan Community College, and Vatterott Technical Institute.

State & County Training Programs

Illinois Industrial Training Program

The Illinois Industrial Training Program is a valuable and flexible workforce development program that complements economic development activities with:

  • Training grants to individual companies, or multiple companies, for common employee training needs
  • Reimbursement up to 50 percent of the costs of training, retraining or upgrading the skills of new or existing employees
  • Grants for up to 50 percent reimbursement of an applicant's total training costs

Contact the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for more information at 618-583-2272.


Illinois Department of Employment Security

Services for Employers

The Illinois Department of Employment Security, through its job service component, assigns full-time staff to work with employers. Assistance available through on-site visits includes:

  • Position requirements
  • Seasonal hiring patterns, entry-level jobs, career ladders and employee benefits
  • Summaries of skills of applicants available for work
  • Job order particulars for the area, the state and/or nation
  • Job Service Employer Committee, an agency partnership with the private sector (over 1,000 firms have profited in this liaison)
  • Providing test-selected applicants
  • Access to targeted jobs tax credits
  • Assistance with employee recruitment

Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC)


The Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center's mission is to improve Illinois' manufacturing productivity and competitiveness. The Downstate Center of IMEC provides assessment and benchmarking services, best manufacturing practices, quality assurance, modernization and process development, product development, market development, information technology, environmental impact reduction, industry network development and information and referral services to area manufacturers.

Madison County Employment and Training Department 


Madison County's Employment and Training Department (ETD) has a long and successful history of working with new and existing employers to fill their personnel needs. The ETD operating as a partner with the Illinois Employment and Training Center (IETC), works to link qualified applicants with private sector employers at no cost.

The County's ETD offers a full range of training and referral services to meet any businesses' personnel needs, whether the company is new or expanding in Madison County. Prior to referring applicants to an employer, ETD will assist in interviewing, screening and testing the applicants. In addition, ETD can provide off-site locations for an employer to interview and select employees, thus reducing in-house traffic and disruption at the employer's place of business. Although ETD screens applicants based upon criteria established by the employer, the employer makes all decisions related to the hiring of a referred job applicant.

The County's ETD can also provide a variety of training programs which are designed to defray the costs of training new employees. Individual workers may qualify for On-The-Job Training (OJT), which can return up to 50% of the worker's wages to the employer during the initial training period (the amount can vary with the wage and complexity of the job). Also, ETD can provide information on tax incentives to new and existing employers in Madison County.

PARTNERS IN PROGRESS is all about building and keeping a quality workforce in the seven county Southwestern Illinois area. The best place to start is looking within our own communities in Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington counties.

One of the problems in our area is "brain drain" – where our best and brightest workers leave the area to pursue careers elsewhere, even though there are jobs that need to be filled right here. The solution is to bring education together with business so that we tell the future generation that this is a great place to work. Then we can train them in skills essential to maintaining a qualified workforce right here at home. The Partners in Progress website is one of the goals of Workforce 21 – the strategic plan to propel Southwestern Illinois into a competitive position in the global economy.

Very simply, the site tells school officials what work-based employment opportunities are available in the area, and tells businesses what educational opportunities are available to build the future workforce. The end result is a collective student body that is career-savvy, well trained and excited about making a career in our area. That's good for business, and critical to the successful future of the region.


University & College Training Programs

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has a commitment to addressing the public needs and issues of the region. The University has several initiatives to make its expertise and resources accessible to local business, industry and governmental agencies.

Office of Technology and Commerce (OTC) ties industry, University and state resources together to promote economic revitalization of manufacturing. It is the means by which local businesses utilize University resources to help in problem-solving and to develop new ideas in manufacturing. Services are fee based. 

International Trade Center (ITC) assists businesses in areas of export sales and foreign trade opportunities. 

Small Business Development Center (SBDC) assists small business and entrepreneurs with problem-solving in the area of management, marketing, production, and financing. Services are free. Training seminars and workshops are also available.


Lewis and Clark Community College


Corporate & Community Learning

Partner with Corporate & Community Learning for cutting-edge customized training for your workforce.