Kaskaskia College Hosts Centralia City Council Meeting

L to R: Laura Wedekemper, KC Board of Trustees; Linda Stover, Vice Chairman, KC Board Trustee; George Kriss, KC Chief Information Office; Tommy Henegar, Director of Adult Education; Judy Hemker, Vice President of Administrative Services; Lyle Gross, Assistant Professor of Industrial Technology; Cory Wellen, Assistant Professor of Welding; Louis Kalert, KC Board of Trustee; Marcus Holland, Director of Greater Centralia of Commerce; Scott Randell, Centralia City Manager; Blake Griffin, Centralia City Councilman; Bryan Kuder, Mayor of Centralia; Tina Masau, Dean of Career and Technical Science; Pete Donnelly, Professor of Construction Occupations; Amy Troutt, Dean of Enrollment Services; George Evans, Kaskaskia College President; Karol Potter, Executive Assistant to the President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees; Dr. Susan Batchelor, Vice President of Student Services; Bill Hawley, Chairman, KC Board of Trustees; Cary Day, KC Public Information Specialist.

The Centralia City Council has proclaimed the month of October as Manufacturing Month that includes a pledge to continue collaborate with Kaskaskia College to increase vocational training opportunities for students to close the skills gap.

The proclamation presented by Mayor Bryan Kuder states KC, the city, and the Greater Centralia Chamber of Commerce are committed to developing strong partnerships with area business and industry to assist in supplying them with a skilled labor force as well as forming strong regional partnerships with many towns, villages and cities within the Kaskaskia College District to assist in advancing economic development to jointly combat the local, regional and nationwide skills gap in the manufacturing and vocational trades.

KC President George Evans, members of the KC Board of Trustees, and administration were on hand to receive the proclamation during the council’s October board meeting held at KC’s Crisp Technology Center. Prior to the meeting, the college hosted a dinner for council members and provided them with a tour of the Crisp Center’s programs and labs.

Evans said arrangements to hold a council meeting at the Crisp Center, which houses most of the college’s vocational programs came about last spring. “We just discussed how and what we can do to move the area together which we have not been able to do for a long time,” said Evans. “We came up with this idea to break bread and some of the new council members have never toured Crisp, so this is an eye-opening experience and was a great opportunity to do that then during Manufacturing Month to share our story with the city and let them know we have their back as well.”

Kuder is anxious to help promote what the college can do to improve the area’s economy. “They’ve got HVAC, electronics, carpentry, welding, all these facilities, and the educational opportunities are just overwhelming. And then to go out to the main campus and all the curriculum they offer there. Like someone on the council said tonight, you know this is a gem and it’s in our backyard.”

Evans added if the region is going to attack the skills gap, it just can’t be Kaskaskia College or the City of Centralia, it has to be a united effort.

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