#715 – Old Paris High School site of Lake Land College program

Posted on | The Agurban

We are thrilled to see this plastics training lab launched in Paris, Illinois!

Old Paris High School site of Lake Land College program
Dave Taylor, Tribune-Star, Paris, IL Nov. 29, 2018

Plastics manufacturing provides thousands of jobs in the Wabash Valley, and a new effort is aimed at providing the skills the industry needs.

Lake Land College unveiled a training program Thursday that it developed in partnership with other education, business and community leaders. Touted as the first of its kind in a 180-mile radius, it offers evening classes in the former Paris High School vocational-technical center.

The idea originated with officials at North American Lighting, Josh Bullock, president of the Mattoon college, said in kicking off the program.

North American’s factory and corporate headquarters provide 1,700 jobs in Paris, and the plant is in the midst of a $25 million expansion expected to add 50 jobs.

“When we thought of creating a new plastics training program, we naturally thought of Lake Land College,” said Chad Thompson, North American’s general manager of corporate human resources. “The college has been very receptive to creating course work that teaches the students skills that are essential for success in our facility [and the] industry.”

The new training program “provides students with a comprehensive set of skills to be successful in the manufacturing field,” Bullock said. “Students train on industry-leading equipment” donated by North American; The Libman Co., which has a plant in Arcola, Illinois; Eastern Illinois University; and the Lake Land College Foundation.

Technical professionals from local plastics plants will teach the classes, he said.

The city owns the old high school building and provides “a generous gift of rent on this location to ensure that we can provide the program,” Bullock noted.

Terry Elston, representing the Paris Economic Development Organization, said, “We applaud Lake Land College for working with area business leaders to develop a program that is so timely and relevant to our region.”