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Celebrate the grand opening of the Advanced Technology Center

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Sep 15, 2022

As part of the college’s effort to strengthen the Lake County manufacturing workforce, College of Lake County (CLC) has officially opened its new state-of-the-art Advanced Technology Center (ATC).

Welding Instructor with StudentCLC invites the public to join in the grand opening celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 to see how the college repurposed a former big-box building to become a key piece of the manufacturing workforce talent pipeline in the county. Located at 7735 Grand Ave. in Gurnee, the ATC is central to the county with easy access to I-94 and PACE bus routes, convenient to industry partners and potential students.

All ages are welcome, and it's designed for you to come at any time during those hours.

The ATC was created from a need identified through discussions with Lake County manufacturers and key industry partners. The new innovative, modern space was built to supply Lake County with a high-tech, high-wage workforce in an inspiring manufacturing learning space.

“CLC is a dedicated partner in meeting workforce needs in Lake County,” said CLC President Dr. Lori Suddick. “The college's investment in the ATC aligns programming with Lake County’s most in-demand jobs. This project represents enormous potential to grow a diverse skilled talent pipeline that is responsive to a critical Lake County industry. The ATC will give our students new opportunities to build rewarding careers in Lake County, while also supporting our thriving manufacturing businesses in this region.”

A cornerstone of the ATC’s purpose is to change the perception of manufacturing in Lake County. The modern design of the building is meant to reflect the present era of manufacturing.

“The ATC reflects what one would find today in a modern, high-tech manufacturing environment with lots of light, glass, space and clean, while providing the industry relevant equipment needed today for hands-on training,” said ATC Director Jon Hardbarger.

Through the ATC, CLC aims to provide 40% of all workforce needs in key industry sectors.

Welding and fabrication and industrial technology classes started this fall semester with the opening of phase one. Currently open is 70,000 square feet of the building, including a 27,000 square-foot welding and fabrication lab and 12,000 square-foot industrial technology lab space, plus a hydraulic and metallurgy lab with a total of $5.5 million worth of equipment.

Additional phases will include a second floor above the industrial technology lab adding another 25,000 square feet and further developing the north side of the building into manufacturing education space which would add another 60,000 square feet.

Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, said, “The Advanced Technology Center will provide best-in-class training for a new generation of manufacturing workers, which will not only help grow jobs in Lake County but also strengthen our manufacturing ecosystem across Illinois. The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association applauds this important investment by the College of Lake County, which will help ensure the long-term success of our state’s manufacturing industry and the communities that rely on the economic development it supports.”

The grand opening takes place during Manufacturing Month. CLC will be celebrating Manufacturing Month with a variety of targeted events for high school students and teachers, employers and the community.

CLC’s Career and Job Placement Center hosts its annual Manufacturing Internship and Career Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. The event provides opportunities for employers and job seekers to connect. That event takes place at the Grayslake campus, 19351 W. Washington St.

For more information and to register for the Internship and Career Fair, visit 

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes in 2019 and is a national leader in many areas, including campus internationalization, sustainability and conservation.