ILMO Products Co. collaborates in expanding career and technical education in South Macoupin County schools

STAUNTON, IL – State Senator Andy Manar was joined by superintendents from Macoupin County school districts, ILMO Products Company, and Miller Welding today to announce a new state grant for the newly created South Macoupin Consortium for Innovation and Career Pathways.

Manar secured the $2 million grant in his role as a chief negotiator of the state’s new bipartisan budget. The funding will be used to assist the Consortium with the implementation of these new programs and fund potential capital improvements to career and technical education facilities.

ILMO Products Company and Miller Welding were instrumental in providing the new Miller Augmented Arc Virtual Welders that will be added to the facility. There will be 12 new Augmented Arc machines that will be utilized to train students in welding. These new machines will provide an extremely beneficial training tool to begin in the fundamentals of welding and to fine-tune welding skills.

The Consortium was formed by the school districts of Bunker Hill, Carlinville, Gillespie, Mt. Olive, Southwestern and Staunton to help expand career and technical education offerings for Macoupin County students.

Macoupin County superintendents say the Consortium and the new grant allow them to fill a needed gap for students who are not currently being served by a regional vocational education center.

“I am thankful for the work that our school districts and Senator Manar have done to this point in order to collaborate together to offer career pathways to students in rural communities. Career pathways is an important step for our districts and rural communities,” said Staunton Superintendent Dan Cox. “We must now look at how we design our high school programming to prepare our students for their futures, whether that be college, trade school, military, or directly to their chosen career, we want to prepare them for success.”

“Mt. Olive School District is excited to be a member of the South Macoupin Consortium for Innovation and Career Pathways,” said Mt. Olive Superintendent Patrick Murphy. “A student at Mt. Olive High School will have the opportunity to choose from the unique curriculums of six different high schools while having all the benefits of attending a smaller high school.”

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to truly enrich the educational experiences of the students of Bunker Hill High School. Once again, State Senator Manar has accomplished another major “win” for public schools, this time addressing a void that has existed in our schools,” said Bunker Hill Superintendent Todd Dugan. “Now we can look to expand our offerings in vocational courses, and will be better able to do our jobs as public schools: unleash every student’s full potential.”

“The much-needed funding will be used to update and expand our equipment technology for our vocational department,” said Southwestern Superintendent Kyle Hacke. “It’s imperative that our students be trained using relevant methods and tools.”

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