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New HCCTP program launched at Shawnee Community College Cairo Extension Center

Shawnee Community College Cairo Extension Center, in collaboration with John A. Logan College, was able to launch a Highway Construction Careers Training Program with a $300,000 investment by IDOT and the Federal Highway Association. This center builds upon the success of HCCTP program that IDOT established in 2010 in collaboration with the FHWA at John A. Logan College and strengthens the ability for new generations of students to advance their career in the trades.

“In the fall of 2021, Secretary Osman shared his vision of expanding the program to Cairo in anticipation of the upcoming river port project,” said Alice Rivera, IDOT’s Office of Business and Workforce Diversity bureau chief of Small Business Enterprises. “With support from IDOT leadership and community involvement, the expansion of the HCCTP to Cairo will provide resources and opportunity for residents to participate in rebuilding their community.”

The new 2022 fall HCCTP class started in September at Shawnee Community College Extension Center with seven new students. The class completed its first project, a sidewalk at Sumner Park in Cairo - in three days during the first week of class. The project included digging, framework and pouring concrete.

“HCCTP has been around for some years and is producing really good results,” said Freddie Brown, HCCTP instructor at John A. Logan College. “This is a major new investment in Alexander and Pulaski counties. The students work well together and have done a great job on the sidewalk project.”

HCCTP has provided robust training and support to 4,000 students with over more than 1,300 graduates who have started a career in highway construction. Currently, HCCTP is conducted through 10 community colleges in Illinois. Program initiatives create a deep and powerful impact on the participating students and their communities, going beyond construction training classes to provide resume and cover letter writing assistance along with team development over the course of the 12-week commitment.

“I am receiving the resources, tools, and support provided by the center for my future career. I have learned more in two weeks than I would in a year,” said Clinton Smith, HCCTP student at the Shawnee Community College Extension Center. “I hope the HCCTP stays here for many years. I plan to put this investment to good use and become part of the laborers in my community,”

A once solid and self-sustained city, Cairo has been in decline over the years. Residents are currently without a gas station and grocery store within city limits. Fortunately, the area is slated for several impending economic development opportunities, including a major river port project and other multimodal construction projects.

“Credit goes to Shawnee Community College and John A. Logan College for providing the leadership and camaraderie that allowed us to collaborate and find synergy as we all address our top priority – meeting the everyday needs of our residents,” said Rivera. “The long-term goal for the program in the area is to execute a standalone agreement between IDOT and Shawnee Community College for fiscal year 2024.”

Click here to learn more about the program.