Skilled to Build: Developing the Future Manufacturing Workforce

Grant Opportunity for Community Colleges to Assist in Creating Solutions that Impact the Illinois Manufacturing Workforce.

The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) Education Foundation are community partners whose missions are to drive productivity and competitiveness of Illinois manufacturers. IMEC and IMA designed this grant program to engage community college faculty to advance the understanding and the application of innovative workforce solutions for Illinois small and mid-sized manufacturers (defined as 500 employees or less).  Funding is available for up to $50,000 per project.

Successful submissions will clearly articulate the importance and practical benefits of the proposed project for small and mid-sized Illinois manufacturers. Project outcomes are required and may include webinars, workforce training programs, manufacturer projects, manufacturer education, service development, and events, among other solutions.

Grant Overview

  • Eligible applicants are faculty at Illinois community colleges in any discipline 
  • Up to $50,000 funding for each project with required 1:1 non-federal match 
  • Projects and activities must be Illinois based
  • Funding cannot be used for expenditures prior to the award or capital equipment 
  • Projects must be completed by November 30, 2023


  • September 19th–October 28th, 2022: Applications accepted
  • October 30th –November 31st, 2022: Review/selection with input from IMEC Board of Directors (industry leaders)
  • December 2022: Award/Contracting
  • January –November 2023: Contract performance period

Reporting Requirements

  • June 30th, 2023: Progress report and interim invoice due
  • End of November 2023: Final presentations
  • December 15, 2023: Final report and invoice due

Scoring Criteria

  • Project addresses a clearly defined and applied need for manufacturing
  • Overall proposal clarity with project outputs
  • Likelihood of success
  • Impact surveys with companies
  • Scalability of the proposed approach
  • Potential for future collaboration with IMEC
  • Qualifications of participants

Proposal Requirements

Complete the provided template, single-spaced with 12-point font that includes the following: 

  • Cover page (including project name and lead contact information) 
  • Executive summary (no more than 250 words) 
  • Project description that clearly outlines the purpose of the project and relevance for small and mid-sized manufacturers (not to exceed 2 pages) 
  • Describe how manufacturers will be involved or directly served by the proposed project (not to exceed 1 page) 
  • Scope of Work (not to exceed 1 page) 
  • Project timeline with tasks or events (no more than one page) 
  • Team bios (no more than one-half page per team member) 
  • Completed Budget on provided template 
  • Budget justification (no more than one page) 
  • Optional: Manufacturer Letters of Support 

Submit Your Application

For questions or to submit your application please email foimgrant@imec.org.