Greater Peoria EDC Announces $3.9 Million Federal Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor

Greater Peoria Economic Development Council announced their CICESS Apprenticeship Program, as part of the Illinois Advanced Apprenticeship Consortium (IAAC). It has been awarded a federal grant from the United States Department of Labor. The grant application was submitted by the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) Education Foundation on behalf of the IAAC this past spring.  In total, there were 47 awards nationally.  The announced award is $3.9 million to support both the ICATT (Northern Illinois Consortium for Advanced Technical Training) and CICESS (Central Illinois Center of Excellence for Secure Software) apprenticeship programs, as well as other programs under the IAAC umbrella.

CICESS (pronounced “Success”) is a collaborative effort to build a local workforce of trained secure software development professionals using an apprenticeship model. CICESS began two years ago when Girish Seshagiri, founder of Peoria-based Advanced Information Services (AIS) and Vice President of ISHPI Information Technologies, identified the opportunity for Greater Peoria to become a center of excellence for secure software. Seshagiri established a coalition with Illinois Central College (ICC) and regional employers CEFCU and Illinois Mutual to define and implement a new model for developing local talent in this field.

The coalition developed a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that allowed ICC to adopt CMU’s nationally recognized curriculum for a first-in-the-nation Associate of Applied Science degree in Secure Software Development program that launched this fall at ICC. There are fourteen students in the program who have qualified for the apprenticeship component that begins in January.

For Central Illinois, this award will help support the implementation and acceleration of CICESS into a model that can be replicated across the country.