LITCHFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Montgomery and Macoupin County students will have the chance to get a head start on future careers in the trades, thanks to a new training center opening in Litchfield.

Governor J.B. Pritzker cut the ribbon on the new South Central Illinois Training and Innovation Center on Monday. The facility will be a training center for careers in the trades, both for high schoolers and people who are switching fields.

“For decades, our nation pulled back from career and technical education for young people choosing instead to focus only on four-year colleges and universities,” Pritzker (D-Illinois) said. “But Illinois has a history of providing good paying jobs with a great future to those who choose to go to work, right from high school.”

The center will partner with area high schools, so students will be able to attend classes at the facility and be able to start working quicker once they graduate. Officials in the two counties have been trying for years to get the facility up and running. It took an $8.6 million investment from the state to get it across the finish line.

“What we are lacking, though, is a well-trained workforce that we will be dedicated to going to work,” Litchfield Mayor Steve Dougherty said. “And that’s what we need. And that’s what SCI will provide us.”