The Parkland College Blog

Ready for a bachelor's or master's degree? Use your Parkland credits! The following colleges will have representatives on hand this fall in the Student Union (unless otherwise noted) to discuss four-year degrees and transfer options.

Greenville University
November 7
10 am–1pm
Representative: Sarah Wilson

Eastern Illinois University
*EIU @ Parkland office
Appointments: 217/353-2255 | Room A170
Thursday, November 7 
Wednesday, November 20 
Friday, December 6
Representative: Rita Pearson

*College Center, X wing lounge
Tuesday, November 12
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Ryan Howard

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Tuesday, November 12
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Carl Franks

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tuesday, December 3
10 am–1pm
Representative: Holly Pflum

 

 

 

 

Parkland College, in collaboration with the Illinois Community College Board and State Rep. Carol Ammons, has launched a new program that will provide free, short-term training to underserved populations in the college's district.
 
Backed by a $1.5 million Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative grant, Parkland's new Support for Workforce Training (SWFT) Program aims to help more than 150 district residents move into high-demand careers with family-sustaining wages within a year or less. The WEI grant aims to address historic underrepresentation of African Americans in high-demand, high-wage careers, thus requiring African Americans to comprise 60 percent of the population served by the SWFT program. 

Parkland President Tom Ramage described the program's potential impact.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity for Parkland College to remove barriers for those wishing to upgrade their skills with short-term programs and move into high-demand careers," he said. "These students will have the opportunity to change, not only the trajectory of their lives, but that of their families. We commend our legislators for supporting this innovative approach to expanding the skilled workforce, growing businesses, and ensuring the continued growth of the local economy."  

The initiative was spearheaded by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus with strong support from State Rep. Carol Ammons. 

"I am proud to support a program that creates ample opportunities in a realistic way," Ammons said. "Participants may receive a number of scholarships, waivers, and stipends, for the necessary classes and training to further their careers. These resources also include childcare, transportation, and other non-monetary tools that will ensure that 'life' doesn't get in the way of making life better.

"I would also like to thank my colleagues in the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus for their work to find workforce training programming that will help to increase wages for people in our community. This program will help people become certified for careers where there are skill gaps and workforce shortages in our region. I am honored to have fought for this money on behalf of those looking for work, and I look forward to working with Parkland College to maximize this grant money and its impact on our community."

Along with providing tuition and fee waivers for training and stipends to help tackle higher education-access barriers, the initiative will address local workforce gaps and employment barriers in an effort to prepare skilled workers to move into employment upon program completion. Participants who are eligible for the program also will receive wraparound support services, such as academic counseling and mentoring.

Students may select from 22 Parkland College degree or certificate programs in four technical career categories: construction and manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and distribution, and business and IT services. Career options vary widely and include industrial maintenance and welding; office assistant, Microsoft Web, and Google IT professionals; phlebotomy and pharmacy technicians; practical nursing and CNA; and truck driver CDL and highway construction, among others. Most programs can be completed in a year or less.

Those eligible for the incentives may include incumbent workers, unemployed persons, members of underrepresented minority groups, those receiving SNAP benefits and other need-based aid, recently incarcerated persons and ex-offenders, those receiving housing assistance, and others demonstrating financial need. 

Parkland College was one of 15 community colleges selected to take part in the $18.5 million WEI, which aims to train 1,500 adults statewide for jobs in areas with a high demand for workers. The grant period begins October 2019 and extends through September 2020. State officials notified Parkland College of its award in mid-September.

For more information, please visit parkland.edu/swft or contact the SWFT Program office at 217/353-2149.

Parkland College has received high marks for financial soundness from external auditors and is enhancing career and technical programs at the college through a recent increase in federal grant funds. 

The Parkland College Board of Trustees officially accepted the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) from Martin Hood, LLC, at its meeting Wednesday. The report presented the college with an unqualified "clean" opinion of its FY 2019 financial statements, the best type to receive from independent review. The audit highlights the college's exemplary fiscal management and includes reports on Parkland's schedule of expenditures of federal awards and its internal control over financial reporting and compliance.

Also at their meeting, trustees received an update on how a $643,000 Carl D. Perkins grant Parkland received for AY 2020 is being used to strengthen career and technical programs and support students in underrepresented groups. Through the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), the US Dept. of Education is providing more than $1.2 billion in federal aid this year to bolster CTE programs across the country. 

Pamela Lau, Executive Vice President, reported that the Perkins funds are being used in several major ways. First, they will help develop an apprenticeship office at Parkland College; this effort will accelerate the development of apprenticeships with the College, which has obtained status as a US Department of Labor intermediary, one that proactively addresses workforce needs for both employees and employers. The funds will also allow the college to provide career-exploration software, soft-skills training, summer camps, and other work-based learning tools for students. Under the leadership of Bobbi Scholze, Parkland's dean of career and technical education, the College will continue expanding pathways to obtain CTE credentials in collaboration with Parkland's Adult Education and Community Education units. Finally, Parkland will make capital equipment purchases and lab and software upgrades that help boost CTE program technology.

In other business, the board approved the following:

  • purchase of body-worn cameras and associated hardware and software from WatchGuard, Inc., Allen, Texas, $22,355;

  • purchase of a 15-passenger commercial bus from Midwest Transit Equipment of Kankakee, $50,628;

  • retaining Henneman Engineering, Inc. of Champaign for the development and design of the campus electronic door lock upgrade, $509,850;

  • purchase of the pre-exposure rabies vaccine administration from McKinley Health Center in Urbana for veterinary tech students, $21,420;

  • receipt of funds from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) Workforce Equity Initiative. College officials publicly announce the grant award on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. in the Student Union atrium.

  • personnel appointments:

    • Gerald Lighty, Faculty, Ag/Engineering Science Technologies

    • Carrie Harris, Program Manager, Community Education

    • Josh Houston, Maintenance Tech/Electrician, Physical Plant

    • Jenna Hooker, Police Officer, Public Safety

CTE Career Exploration Night, Sept. 4

Meet vo-tech industry employers, get advice on career paths, more

Parkland College will host a night for students to explore hands-on technical careers Sept. 4.

Career Exploration Night, sponsored by the school's Career and Technical Education division, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Tony Noel Agricultural Applications Center and the Parkhill Applied Technology Center on the main campus.

Current and prospective Parkland students are invited to meet employers, get expert advice on a career path, learn how to make a great first impression, and tour high-tech learning labs. Career opportunities in horticulture, automotive, collision repair, diesel power, construction management, industrial technology, land surveying and electronics will be discussed. Participants can chat with employers about internship opportunities and career tracks in their industries.

To RSVP for this event, visit parkland.edu/ctecareernight.

Google-Supported IT Training Program Starts this Fall

Google IT Support Professional (CSC 117) to help fill growing need

Parkland College is launching a new program on campus this fall that trains students for entry-level work as IT help-desk technicians, an initiative supported by Google.

Completing the six-credit-hour Google IT Support Professional course (CSC 117) certifies students to provide entry-level IT support in just one semester at Parkland College and help fill a growing need. According to Google, Google Help Desk technicians are in-demand with many national corporations, from GE and Intel to Smucker's and Walmart. The national median wage for IT support specialists is $52,000, and about 150,000 unfilled IT support jobs need to be filled across the U.S.

No experience with computers is needed beforehand to start the program. Students will learn customer service skills along with how to provide troubleshooting support with G Suite apps, system administration, security, networking, and more. The hybrid course features mostly online class time with one evening a week on campus for lab work.

For more information, please contact Cyndia Hinton, program manager (217/351-2414 or chinton@parkland.edu) or Derek Dallas, faculty chair (217/353-2351 or ddallas@parkland.edu), Parkland College Business/Computer Science and Technologies.

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