SPRINGFIELD — A $4 million federal grant to the Illinois Community College Board will help 10 schools throughout the state with information-technology apprenticeship programs, including Illinois Central College.

The grant will help 1,600 apprentices, a news release from the ICCB stated.

“The community college apprenticeship programs integrate classroom learning with paid employment,” said Dr. Lazaro Lopez, chairman of the ICCB, in a prepared statement. “Apprenticeship programs are critical to supporting economic development in communities across our state by creating seamless pathways for residents to acquire the skills to meet employer workforce needs.”

The ICCB will work with the schools to develop or expand what will be called a Customized Apprenticeship Program-Information Technology, or CAP-IT, with each of the schools. Included will be bridge programs aiding lower-skilled or -wage workers at improving their basic skills, as well as programs in related technical instruction, and apprenticeship programs with paid, work-based learning and postsecondary education, the release stated.

Schools will work to improve inclusion and diversity in their apprenticeships, as well.  

ICC is the only central Illinois college included in the program. The next nearest are Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield and Parkland College in Champaign.