The Parkland College Blog

Join Us at the Human Library, April 5

Experience real stories. Bring an open mind.

We’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover, for we might miss out on an amazing story. On April 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. in our Student Union, Parkland's Diversity Committee and Office of Human Resources invite you to take a journey with a select group of individuals who will be sharing such amazing stories.

The setting of our first-ever Human Library™ event will be informal, more like a conversation. You, the audience member or 'reader', will have an opportunity to listen to personal stories from these human 'books' on loan to you, with time after the storytelling for questions and dialogue from the audience. 

What are some titles of the books you might borrow? They include “Refugee,” “Broken behind the Badge,” “Muslim in America,” “Black & Queer,” and “Migrant Story,” among others.

The Human Library event is designed to make Parkland College a more inclusive and diverse environment, where people are not judged as one might judge a book by its cover. Instead, the real stories of these human books are meant to challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue, according to humanlibrary.org, the website for this worldwide movement of social change. 

Ready to visit the Human Library? If so, please register for this event by emailing benefits@parkland.edu with the subject line “Human Library.” You will then receive a link to register online and select your books.

All we ask is that you bring yourself—and an open mind.

Changing Lives: Highway Construction Careers Training

Join the HCCTP by attending a free orientation session in January

In just under four months, local residents Frankie Hernandez and Dylan Trimble have transformed their lives.

Last winter, they decided to join the Highway Construction Careers Training Program at Parkland College after attending an orientation session. HCCTP, a state program, offers free critical skills training and education in the highway construction trades to women, minorities, and disadvantaged individuals, but the program is open to anyone.

In early July, on the day before Hernandez and Trimble officially graduated, we spotted them working, on Mattis Avenue, and stopped to talk. While an apprentice’s pay is good, they remarked, their employer decided to give them over $7/hour more than they expected.

“Yeah, we are getting the full rate of pay,” Hernandez said. Trimble nodded and extended his hands outward.

“It’s awesome,” he said, referring to either the pay or the job, or both.

One of the seasoned workers on the crew stepped out from the shade of a nearby tree and looked directly at me, adding, “These are good guys. We’re glad to have them.” In fact, if you had just passed by the crew, you would never have guessed who the new guys were. They were focused, working, and part of the team.

So how did Hernandez and Trimble get here? Like many of our HCCTP students, every story is different, but they both wanted to make a lasting change.

“It’s good work. It’s real work,” said Hernandez, standing half in and half out of a square hole their crew had cut out of Mattis Avenue, his gloved hands resting on his waist. “I’m really glad to be working.” Hernandez had attended one of the three orientation classes we offer that inform potential students of the expectations of the HCCTP: Show up on time and do your best.

Students have to have a high school diploma or equivalency, and they must pass a drug screening test. They must be at least 18 and have an interest in the construction trades.

During their first six weeks, Hernandez and Trimble learned math-specific skills for the industry; life skills; construction site safety; equipment training (aerial lift, scissor lift, skid steer, backhoe/end loader, crane safety and rigging, crane signaling, extended reach fork lift, and fork lift); and flagger training. For the following nine weeks they performed hands-on general-construction and skilled-trades training, including stick welding, basic plumbing, electrical work, and sheet metal work.

“The math skills really helped me,” Hernandez said. “I improved a lot in that area so I could do my job.” Trimble had a different takeaway from the experience.

“I like the big machines,” he said, laughing.

Before their first working gig on Mattis Avenue, both men were paid to learn skills to enter the trades. The HCCTP also provides pens, pencils, paper, books, work boots, tools, etc. All students have to do is make sure they wear jeans that are free from rips or tears and be punctual, ready to work, and ready to learn.

Anyone interested in joining the Highway Construction Careers Training Program must first attend an orientation session at the Business Training and Community Education office, 1315 N. Mattis Avenue in Champaign. Our upcoming sessions take place Jan 29 at 2 p.m. and Jan. 30 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Please call 217/351-2235 for more information, or apply online.

 

[This blog post first appeared July 11, 2018.]

Employer Campus Visit Day, Nov. 14

South Lounge, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Students, please come dressed as you are to the next Employer Campus Visit Day, Nov. 14, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the South Lounge.  Individaul students AND classes are encouraged to attend! Why dress casual?

This is not a job fair! It's a chance to practice professional communication skills and learn about career tracks within specific companies/industries. The event is limited to 10 employers; they may have current openings, but they will also be available to answer questions you may have about their company/industry.

 

Why should you be interested?  

You can practice professional communication skills, learn about career tracks within specific companies/industries, and apply for part-time or full-time job openings.

How do you approach an employer?

First, consider your body language. Take a deep breath, try to relax, and smile! A  positive attitude goes a long way.

How do I start the conversation?

Sample questions you may want to ask are:

  • What entry level positions in (enter your career field) are available in your company and what kinds of people are you looking for to fill them?
  • What types of people do well within your organization?
  • What are the key skills you are looking for in new hires?
  • What degrees or programs of study are most desirable within your company?
  • What types of experiences are most valuable to you when hiring (leadership, research, volunteering, etc)?
  • What part-time or internship opportunities does your company/organization offer?

Career Services provides individual career appointments as well as classroom presentations on a variety of job related topics. To inquire further, please email careerservices@parkland.edu or visit our website

Celebrate Respiratory Care Week!

Learn about one of the best kept secrets in healthcare

Your breathing matters, today and every day! The American Association for Respiratory Care and thousands of respiratory therapists across the nation who care for patients and their families are celebrating and recognizing the role of the respiratory therapist during Respiratory Care Week, October 21–27.  Happy #RCWEEK18!

*****

When we think of healthcare, we think of doctors and nurses. Anyone who has had routine dental care might also include the dental hygienist. As a profession, respiratory care remains one of the best kept secrets in healthcare. Why?

Breathing is so fundamental, we often take it for granted, that's why. However, for the patient with a chronic lung condition such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, or pulmonary fibrosis, breathing requires conscious effort and often dictates the day's activities. In fact, most of the students coming into Parkland College's Respiratory Care program either needed a respiratory therapist, or met a respiratory therapist through a family member who needed a respiratory therapist!

The Parkland College Respiratory Care program prepares future respiratory therapists to provide patient assessment, diagnostic testing, a variety of respiratory treatments, patient education, and life support with mechanical ventilation for patients of all ages. Where will our graduates work? Everywhere.Parkland College Respiratory Care Program

The respiratory therapist is at the bedside in the emergency department, in the critical care units, on the medical and surgical units, in the home, and in the physician's office. The respiratory therapist will care for patients of all ages, from the neonate born too soon to the oldest of the old. The care they provide may be life-sustaining or may provide symptom relief and comfort.

Respiratory care doesn't have to remain a secret.

Employment opportunities for respiratory therapists remain excellent both locally and nationally.  For more information, please contact Respiratory Care Program Director Midge Seim, RRT-NPS (mseim@parkland.edu).  We would love to share the secret of the possibilities in respiratory care.

[Above: Carle/Uof I medical student listens while a Parkland Respiratory student explains the variety of metered dose and dry powder inhalers for respiratory care.]

Parkland Scholarships: Apply Now

Apply for $100,000+ in spring semester scholarships through Nov. 15

The Parkland College Foundation is now offering scholarships for the spring 2019 semester. More than 90 scholarships, totaling more than $100,000, are available! Individual amounts can range from $100 to $3,000.

The primary application period is October 15–November 15, 2018 (and March 15–April 15, 2019 for the fall 2019 semester), but Parkland posts scholarships throughout the academic year. The funds are there, just waiting for the right student to apply. Will it be you? Check out the tips for success below:

Searching Our Scholarships

Log in to your Parkland College student portal account and either select the "100-dollar bill" icon or select "Scholarship Search" under the Student Services tab. You will find a listing of all currently available scholarships; Parkland Foundation scholarship information will be posted along with scholarships provided by external organizations. You can also customize your search by selecting "Eligible Scholarships" from the drop down menu, based on the scholarship criteria you indicate.

Getting Help with Your Application

  • Most scholarship applications require you to write an essay, but don’t be intimidated! The Center for Academic Success at Parkland College in Room D120 includes a Writing Lab that is open and available to all students. Stop by CAS for free help from English instructors with any writing project you might have. For more information, visit D120 or log in to the student portal and select "Tutoring & Learning Assistance" under the Student Services tab.

  • Most scholarships also require at least one letter of recommendation. These should be from someone who knows you well, but not a friend or family member. Think of people who know your academic history, your work ethic, and your involvement in school and the community.  Give people plenty of time to write the letter for you.

Expand Your Search!

The student portal is not the only place you can find scholarships for the upcoming semester; high school guidance counselors are a great resource for finding local scholarships. Additionally, many employers offer scholarships to their employees and the family members of their employees. Be sure to check with any civic, community, religious, or professional organizations of which you or your parents are members. 

Finally, you can try reputable online resources for scholarships including Fastweb, CollegeBoard, and Scholarships.com. Keep this in mind as you search: A reputable scholarship organization will not ask you to pay a fee to apply.

Happy hunting!

 

[Haiti Eastin is a financial aid advisor for Parkland College.]

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