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Heartland Community College opens new job training site in west Bloomington

 Large gathering of people standout outside behind a banner with a large pair of scissors prepared to cut a ribbon stretched across them.
Megan Spoerlein
Officials from Heartland Community College, Mid Central Community Action and the McLean County Chamber of Commerce take part in a ribbon-cutting Tuesday at Heartland's new job training site in space at Mid Central.

Heartland Community College and Mid Central Community Action (MCCA) are teaming up to expand access to education in west Bloomington.

The college and nonprofit unveiled a new instructional site Tuesday at MCCA on West Washington Street.

The 4,500-square-foot facility, which Heartland leases from MCCA and renovated this year, will feature a computer lab and an instructional space for students for hands-on experience with maintenance, construction, and other work-ready programs.

“By opening up the learning center that we are [have] here in Bloomington, we are bringing educational opportunity to neighborhoods where potential students live,” Heartland Community College President Keith Cornille said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We’re going to individuals, we’re not waiting for them to get across town to come to our campus because oftentimes that will take an hour bus drive, and may take up to two, maybe even three transfers for an individual to get there. Those are obstacles and barriers that stop people from moving themselves forward.”

Man holding microphone and wearing sunglasses standing behind podium in front of several large banners at news conference.
Megan Spoerlein
Heartland Community College President Keith Cornille

Heartland noted in some west Bloomington neighborhoods, nearly 60% of adults don’t have a college degree and 8% of adults in the area lack a high school diploma.

MCCA treasurer Jason Pals said the goal is to train students for work in a nontraditional college setting.

“The students are going to become agents of transformation in their lives and in their neighborhoods,” Pals said. “By creating a skilled workforce, we’re able to foster economic growth, support local businesses, and overall quality of life for everyone in the community.”

Courses in building maintenance, technical service industry skills, construction materials and methods will open at the MCCA space in August, according to a news release from Heartland. The facility also will offer open computer lab space for students enrolled in business technology, computer technology, and office technology courses. 

MCCA executive director Tami Foley said students who sign up for the courses also can be helped through the nonprofit’s Next Step program.

“We have financial coaches, employment coaches, and HUD certified housing counselors that can walk alongside these students through their journeys and assist them in securing jobs and increasing their net worth once they receive their certification," Foley said.

Each program allows 12 students at the site.

Classes will start in August for Heartland’s Fall 2023 semester.

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Megan Spoerlein is a reporting intern at WGLT. She started in 2023. Megan is also studying journalism at Illinois State University.
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