Illinois Central College Receives Grant for Innovative Bridge and Transition Program

Illinois Central College has been awarded a $100,000 grant by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to implement a new, innovative bridge and transition program titled the Gateway to Medical Laboratory Technician Careers Program 

The eight-week bridge program is designed to elevate 25 unemployed, underemployed or underrepresented adults for entry into the Medical Laboratory Technician Associate Degree program at ICC. The program partners with local employers and community-based organizations and allows participating students to receive a stipend.    

This grant allows Illinois Central College the opportunity to remove barriers and change lives as we move adults into a high-demand, higher-wage career,” said ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “When unemployed, underrepresented or first-generation adults earn credentials with labor market value, it not only changes the trajectory of their lives, but also the lives of their families; while growing the workforce, expanding businesses and creating a more vibrant regional economy.”   

The global pandemic and growing aging population have brought about an unprecedented demand for medical laboratory technicians (MLTs). Workforce shortages and skills gaps have been reported by both private and public employers,” said ICC Vice President of Workforce and Diversity Dr. Rita Ali. “We are committed to answering the call from regional employers to help area residents earn a workforce credential in order to fill the local workforce gaps.” 

 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of clinical laboratory technicians is projected to grow seven percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average of all occupations. Current Emsi data reports the median salary for MLTs in the Peoria region is $24.69/hour or $52,000/year, which is more than 40 percent above the living wage for the Peoria region. Highly experienced MLTs can earn up to $73,095/year.   

For more information, contact Executive Director of Workforce Operations Paula Nachtrieb at [email protected].