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New HS Tech Training Academy Debuts at Parkhill ATC

Parkland joins EFE #330 to bring advanced tech dual credit to juniors, seniors

Thursday, November 06, 2014
A new program to help area high schoolers jump-start technical career certificates launched today at Parkland College's Parkhill Applied Technology Center.

The Early College and Career Academy kickoff welcomed Champaign school district and Parkland officials, along with representatives from local manufacturing and Illinois senate and congressional offices, for an informational presentation and tour of the ATC. 
A collaboration between Illinois' Education for Employment system No. 330 and Parkland College, the ECCA will offer advanced career and technical education courses to area high school juniors and seniors beginning fall 2015. Parkland's Manufacturing, Welding, Automotive Technology, Computer Science, Certified Nursing Assistant, Emergency Medical Service, and Criminal Justice programs will provide specialized dual credit classes for the academy's debut semester.
EFE 330 Director Nick Elder told attendees that his office, which will administer the new academy, expects 50 to 90 students to take courses in the first year. He said the initiative will ultimately have positive community impact. 
"Academy curricula will be aligned with industry-recognized certificates, so local businesses will benefit from the increased skill level of the incoming workforce,"​ he said.
Marc Chagnon, director of career programs for Champaign Unit 4, encouraged attendees to spread the word about the academy throughout the school district. "We're excited that this initiative is going to give our students added incentives to excel academically," he said. "We need to share this with our parents as much as we can at our high schools."
Many of the ECCA classes will take place in the Parkhill ATC on the far northwest side of campus. This facility has been serving workforce technical training needs locally and statewide since it opened in fall 2012. It was the site of the 78th Illinois College Automotive Instructor Association Conference on Oct. 9, which provided professional development to 150+ Illinois high school and college automotive instructors. It was also the site for the last year's Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition state finals.
Community support, such as a $100,000 donation by the Bergen Parkhill family in September, helps Parkland College stay current with its technology program curricula, facilities, and equipment, said Parkland Foundation Director Linda Myette. Elder said he is excited to partner with the ATC and other Parkland resources to bring these courses to area students.
"We had to sit down and figure out how to make some of these specialized career and technical education programs available to our high school population; Parkland College was an obvious resource," he said. 
[Caption: Early College and Career Academy kicks off with tour of Parkhill ATC.]

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