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Recently, the Charlie Chaplin auditorium of St. Augustine College was filled with representatives from the public and private sectors who work with Institute for Workforce Education (IWE), a division of St. Augustine College, to provide training to Chicago workers (mainly Hispanics) and to businesses and community organizations.

Dr. Norman Ruano, Vice President for Workforce Education, at St. Augustine College, highlighted that IWE is the largest provider of dual-language workforce training in Illinois, and stated “I believe in the transformational power of education. I believe that there are very few forces in life that can improve the life of people, their families, and their communities the way education and workforce training can. In fact, through many years of doing this work, I have seen and documented the impact that education has on the lives of those that pursue it.”

He added “Bringing education to the workplace and providing educational opportunities to adult learners requires the commitment of a variety of stakeholders, and that is where all of you (IWE partners) come in. Our vision and commitment is unwavering, but your support, along with the sacrifice of our students, makes this endeavor possible.  Without the generous support of our funders such as the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the City of Chicago Department of Community Development, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Illinois Tollway, and ComEd, none of what we do would be possible.

He also indicated that “we have trained over 10,000 students (more than 2,000 of those students are supervisors, managers, and executives working in a variety of industries and the public sector), delivered over 2,200 courses, and have served the training needs of more than 650 companies and non-profit organizations located in the Chicago metropolitan region, other states, and even other countries. We are proud to say that St. Augustine College now has the largest college-based workforce development operation in the State of Illinois, and that the work we do, besides being done with passion and dedication, is also done with high quality and effectiveness.”

At this event, tribute was paid to some of IWE’s most important partners and training recipients, who help to implement IWE’s mission, including: Centro Romero, Sinai Health System, El Valor, Habilitative Systems, HACIA, Sonoco Clearlam Packaging, ASI Services, Health Alternative Systems, HACES, Aspira, Inc. of Illinois, the Cermak Chamber of Commerce, the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, Lawrence Hall, Metropolitan Family Services, Haymarket Center, Association House of Chicago, Second Federal Bank, Heartland Health, Community Health Partnership of Illinois, USMCA/April Cobra, Circle Family Healthcare, Marriot Hotels, the Illinois Department of Employment Security/Pilsen Workforce Center, and National Able, among others.

The invited guests included Julio Rodríguez, Deputy Director, office of Employment and Training, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities (DCEO); Chicago Alderman Gil Villegas; Jorge Perez, Executive Director, HACIA; Dawn Fuentes, Assistant Commissioner of Workforce Solutions, Dept. of Planning & Development, City of Chicago; Esther Corpuz, CEO, Alivio Medical Center; and Paul Cerpa, Executive Manager, Illinois Tollway. Also present, were members of St. Augustine College’s Board of Trustees: Daisy Funes (Executive Director, Centro Romero); Paola Meinzer: and Vince Rangel.

“My Department is very proud of our relationship with IWE and St. Augustine College because they are making a difference to empower our Latino community,” said Julio Rodríguez. “IWE works very hard to train workers and help small business owners to take them to the next level. That is very valuable and I am personally very proud and satisfied with IWE’s work”.

Another testimony that was well received was that of Jeanette Chavarria-Torres, President of DCH Construction & Hauling, LLC. “I received training from the Illinois Tollway Technical Assistance Program through IWE, at St. Augustine’s Aurora location. I was recruited by HACIA and applied without knowing that I was going to do very well,” she said. “This program helped me not only to improve in my work, but it also improved my administration skills and to connect with contractors, which helped to take my company to a new level. What helped me the most in this training is to focus on how to prepare better proposals, how to get more clients, and how to best position my company to promote it in the public and private sectors. Ever since I started implementing the skills I learned, my company has grown at least by 35%”.

For more information about its training services, contact IWE at: –  1.855.234.0753  –