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2022 - ECC, Smithfield Foods to Sign First Cohort of Student Apprentices

Tags: Announcement | Events
Published 01/10/2022
IST apprentices look at machinery

IST apprentices look at machinery

Elgin Community College (ECC), Smithfield Foods partner to bring award-winning maintenance technician apprenticeship program to Illinois

Elgin Community College (ECC) and Smithfield Foods, Inc. have partnered to offer a new maintenance technician apprenticeship program, designed to provide hands-on engineering and mechanical training to Smithfield employees at the company’s Bolingbrook, Monmouth, and St. Charles facilities as they work toward an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) – Integrated Systems/Maintenance Technology degree from ECC.

Smithfield's maintenance technician apprenticeship programs entail three years of classroom learning and an additional year of hands-on training with experienced technicians at local Smithfield facilities. Student apprentices receive free college tuition, an associate degree, state and federal journeyman's certifications, and full-time salary and benefits as they progress through the program. ECC’s AAS degree is also fully transferable toward a bachelor’s degree at all state Illinois colleges and universities.

ECC and Smithfield’s new program, which is the first of the company’s apprenticeship programs in Illinois, will kick off with a brief signing ceremony on Wed., Jan. 12, from 9 to 9:30 a.m. in Siegel Auditorium, Building E at 1700 Spartan Drive in Elgin.

Reporters and photographers interested in attending the ceremony are asked to RSVP to Rita Elliott, senior director of communications for ECC at

“Through partnerships like this, we are not only helping Smithfield increase the skills of their workforce, but on an individual level, these jobs lead to higher-paying family-sustaining wages that provide stability and opportunity for growth. We are very thankful that Smithfield also shares our values on collaboration within our community to improve people's lives through learning. We are excited to welcome our new Smithfield students to ECC,” said Gina De rosier Cook, Ed.D., dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education.

“Our innovative apprenticeship programs are an integral part of our commitment to develop the next generation of manufacturing professionals,” said Clarence Scott, talent acquisition specialist for maintenance & engineering for Smithfield Foods. “We’re excited to welcome our 10 new apprentices in their careers at Smithfield.”

Smithfield’s inaugural apprenticeship program with Wayne Community College (WCC) in Goldsboro, NC., was honored by the North Carolina Community College System in 2021 for its innovative, effective approach to supporting workers, businesses, and local economies. The company has expanded the program to include partnerships with colleges near Smithfield facilities in MO, Neb., Iowa, and now Ill.

For more information, visit this link.  


About Elgin Community College

Elgin Community College (ECC) is a comprehensive public community college, one of 48 statewide. ECC serves approximately 15,000 students each year. Programs of Study include 25 major fields for university transfer, more than 130 career-oriented, occupational degrees and certificates, corporate and continuing education, and a full complement of pre-collegiate courses. The three-year graduation rate exceeds the national average and the average of peer colleges. ECC awards more than 2,200 degrees and certificates each year.


About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 63,000 team members are dedicated to producing "Good food. Responsibly.®" and have made Smithfield one of the world's leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including our industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30 percent across our entire U.S. value chain by 2030. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our communities. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich®, and Nathan's Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit, and connect with us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.



Contact Information:


Rita Elliott

Elgin Community College


Anna Harry

Smithfield Foods, Inc.