Palatine's Harper College and Northwestern University are among four Illinois colleges and universities awarded about $8.5 million to help businesses educate and train workers.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced the workforce development and training grants on Wednesday. He says the Department of Labor grants are intended to address the nation's "skills gap."
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The National Association of Manufacturers estimates as many as 600,000 jobs nationwide are not filled because companies can't find workers who have the skills they need.
The money will go to Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, John Wood Community College in Quincy, Northwestern University in Evanston and William Rainey Harper College in Palatine.
The community colleges are part of a nine-college consortium that's helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers address workforce needs along the Mississippi River.