Amazon invests $500K in Will County workforce development and education initiatives

The Community Foundation of Will County will administer the grants, expanding on the county’s booming economic development in recent years.

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In this file photo taken on November 28, 2019 the Amazon logo is seen at one of the company’s centre in Bretigny-sur-Orge.

The Amazon logo is seen at one of the company’s centre in Bretigny-sur-Orge. | File photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon announced a $500,000 donation Thursday to the Community Foundation of Will County to fund local workforce development and education initiatives in the community.

The foundation has formed an advisory committee of leaders in education, economic development and workforce development to establish criteria and the framework for distributing the money.

David Livingston, CFWC board member and chair of the new advisory committee, said he’s excited to see collaboration among Will County community leaders to identify sustainable investments for the future. He said the committee also has a responsibility to pave the way for future investment in the county’s workers and inspire other organizations to follow suit.

The money will be made available through a grant program. CFWC President Rod Tonelli said the grant program will likely be rolled out by the middle of 2021.

“We brought in the leaders of higher education, of K-12 education and workforce — [they] all have that geographic coverage of the entirety of Will County,” Tonelli said. “We’re going to rely on their expertise and their knowledge of what’s happening on the ground and in various industries ... to target what initiatives and programs we’ll fund with this gift.”

Amazon has created 36,000 jobs in the state and plans to develop and grow its Illinois workforce, said Sarah Glavin, Amazon’s senior manager of external affairs. The company has invested $8 billion in Illinois since 2010 on stores, warehouses, offices and employee compensation, she said.

“Working with partners like the CFWC will continue to help shape our investments as we think about what we need to develop the future workforce,” Glavin said.

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