Who We Serve

The Building Illinois’ Bioeconomy Consortium benefits a variety of students. The recent high school graduate can find a worthwhile, engaging career through our bioeconomy aligned programs. Furthermore, our programs focus on providing career tracks for the non-traditional student, such as Trade Adjustment Assistance eligible workers, displaced, underemployed, or unemployed workers, veterans, and underserved minorities. Target participants for BIB programs may include for instance a laid off steel mill worker in Granite City, IL, a Head Start parent in East Saint Louis, IL, as well as a farmer or rural worker in various areas of the state and the region. Additionally, BIB aims to improve the lives of plant laborers such as assemblers, machinists, inspectors, or general production workers, offering them opportunities for continued training and connections to employers.students at NCERC

Key target populations include:

 Trade Adjustment Assistance Eligible Workers

The Building Illinois’ Bioeconomy Consortium recognizes that on average, Illinois TAA workers are out of work for nearly two years. The extended layoff time is primarily due to a significant gap between the workers’ skills and the requirements of a new position, many having worked in the same job for all or most of their careers using a very limited ability set related directly to their occupation, having acquired only limited technical knowledge, and not having had a chance to adapt to new work contexts. The Consortium strives to ensure that the skills gap is eliminated and workforce integration barriers are removed through flexible, stackable programs and strong support services.

 Unemployed, Underemployed, and Displaced Workers

The TAACCCT grant program allows the Building Illinois’ Bioeconomy Consortium to assist U.S. workers who have lost or at risk of losing their jobs due to foreign trade and other circumstances. Through the partnership between colleges, adversely affected workers are given access to education in order to obtain the skills, credentials, resources, and support necessary to become re-employed or fully employed. With the BIB higher education partners offering fast-tracked, two year or less degree programs and certificates, participants in Consortium programs are able to complete the required training to enter a high wage career.


Representatives from the Veterans Assistance Commissions foresee an increased demand for veteran training options due to the Department of Defense draw-down in Iraq and Afghanistan through 2018. By giving the regional veteran population priority access to concentrated, streamlined training programs, the Consortium enables them to return to school and receive the education needed to obtain living wage jobs in the high-demand bioeconomy industry.