The Parkland College Blog

Parkland Theatre to Hold Auditions for "The SpongeBob Musical"

Auditions for "The SpongeBob Musical" start Saturday, January 22

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Parkland College Theatre will hold auditions for its spring production of "The SpongeBob Musical" on Saturday, January 22 at the Parkland theatre.

Director Chelsea Collier is casting 20-25 performers who can sing and/or dance in a contemporary pop style. Audition sign-ups are available at this link.

Auditions will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; check-in will take place in the lobby. Complete and detailed instructions for the auditioning process are available at

Call-backs will be held Sunday, January 23, time TBD. Those who are called back will receive a phone call on Saturday afternoon, after auditions.

Performances for "The SpongeBob Musical" will run in Parkland's Harold and Jean Miner Theatre from April 14 to May 1.

All members of the community as well as Parkland and University of Illinois students are invited to audition; Parkland Theatre encourages diversity. Additional questions should be addressed to operations assistant HeatherAnn Layman at For more information about the Parkland Theatre, visit

Registration for Parkland Late-Start Classes Underway

Sign up for 13-Week, Full-Credit Classes

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Although Parkland College's full-semester classes are now in session, another range of classes is available to students who still wish to enroll.

Registration is now open for Parkland's Late-Start Class session, which begins the week of January 31.

Residents can earn full-semester college credit in just 13 weeks, in classes taught at a slightly more accelerated pace than full-semester classes. Students can select from transferable, virtual, and in-person courses in math, biology, education, English, foreign languages, astronomy, and many other subjects, plus career-specialty classes in aviation, agriculture, health professions, computer science, and more. 

Registration for the 13-week session ends January 30. To get started at Parkland College, visit or contact Admissions and Records at 217/351-2482 or

Parkland College's Youth Art Contest Returns for Second Year

Celebrate the Arts! Youth Art Competition at Parkland College

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Following a successful inaugural year, Parkland College Community Education and Giertz Gallery are once again hosting the Celebrate the Arts! Youth Art Competition.

The contest for District 505 youth ages 7-18 will run until Sunday, February 20, 2022. Students have a chance to win full summer 2022 scholarships for either a College for Kids camp or a Summer Discovery camp. Each of the three age categories will have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd placements, with honorable mentions.

"Giertz Gallery and Community Education are thrilled to be able to offer this event to our students for a second year," said Terry Thies, youth program manager for Community Education. "While the pandemic is still present in our lives, we are eager to continue creating spaces for self-expression and creative engagement for the talented students in our community."

Selected works will be featured on Parkland's social media pages, and winners will be announced by Tuesday, March 8 at a Virtual Awards Ceremony.

"Giertz Gallery is honored to co-host this art competition," said Lisa Costello, director of Giertz Gallery. "We see it as an opportunity to encourage budding artists who've been heavily impacted by the pandemic to express and challenge themselves creatively. Our community shows strong support for the arts. Sharing the artwork produced by our youth on our social media platforms is our way of adding to that support and bringing our community closer together."

Entries will be judged by Tanya Scott, curator of education for the University Galleries at Illinois State University, and Matthew Watt, professor of art and design at Parkland College.

A full list of rules can be found at Questions about the contest can be directed to

Parkland College Students Earn Fall Flight Credentials

Aviation Students Earn Fall 2021 Credentials

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The following students earned flight credentials from the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College during the college's fall semester.

Soloed for the First Time in a Piper Archer
Eduardo Acosta, Alsip
Beau Atchison, Sullivan
Andrew Green, Arcola
Aiden Tilstra, Onarga
Daniel Crowe, Princeton
Cameron Baker, Savoy
Micah Hortega, Ottawa
Jacob Dunklau, White Heath
Victor Strong, Fairbury
Hunter Austin, Gerlaw
Mya Cobb, Mattoon
Matthew Zinchuk, Champaign
Peter Gallagher, Chicago
Rohit Khanal, Chicago
Elliott Clark, Chicago
August Stauffer, Urbana
Brody Doyle, Evergreen Park

Earned the Private Pilot Airplane Single-Engine Land (ASEL) Certificate
Benjamen Barker, Rantoul
Chris Murphy, Chicago
Mutawakkil Farrakhan, Chicago
Nathan Smith, Mahomet

Earned the Instrument Airplane Rating
Arthur King, Tolono
George Wilson, Champaign
Canyon Richardson, Durand
Carson Cuevas, Peoria
Kaden Clark, Mount Zion
Tyler Thomas, Chicago

Earned the Commercial Pilot ASEL Certificate
Paolo Kinsella, Bement
Patrick Kehias, Bloomington
Zach Chalk, Mahomet
Tallon Myers, Clinton

Earned the Flight Instructor ASE Certificate
Aubrey Glennon, Bement
Armando Collazo Garcia, Champaign
Logan Dirr, Bloomington

Earned the Flight Instructor-Instrument Airplane
Ian Kunz, White Heath
Lucas Charles, Sidney

Earned the Commercial Pilot Multi Engine Land Certificate
Landon Tate, East Peoria
Ian Kunz, White Heath

Parkland College assumed ownership of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Institute of Aviation in fall 2014, leasing its aircraft and facilities at Willard Airport in Savoy to continue flight training. The College has continued the excellent instruction provided by the University's institute, which educated more than 13,000 pilots in its 70-year history. Many of its graduates are employed in the aviation industry around the world.

Along with the two-year degree in aviation, students can earn a private pilot certificate and commercial pilot ratings, including multi-engine land and flight instructor.

[photos from top: Mya Cobb, Patrick Kehias, George Wilson]

Parkland SWFT Program Receives Funding for Third Year

SWFT: Free Workforce Equity Training Program

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Parkland College announced today that the Support for Workforce Training (SWFT) program has been refunded for a third year. In collaboration with the Illinois Community College Board and State Rep. Carol Ammons, SWFT will be able to continue to provide free, short-term training to underserved populations in the college's district.
Backed by a $1.2 million Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) grant, Parkland's SWFT program aims to help more than 130 district residents move into high-demand careers with family-sustaining wages within a year or less. The WEI grant aims 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. 

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

"Congratulations to Parkland College for their award of $1.2 million toward the SWFT Program. I'm honored to represent and advocate for programs like this and thank my caucus, The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, for prioritizing education and workforce development for our students and community. This incredible initiative does vital work in providing Parkland students with training in career options such as healthcare, transportation, construction, and business. The SWFT program is an excellent model of how higher education institutions can support their students holistically and guide them on a pathway toward success well beyond graduation."

Along with providing tuition, fee, and book 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 and awarded funding will receive wraparound support services, such as academic counseling, career advising and workshops, and essential skills training.

"I'm thrilled at the news that we can continue serving our students for another year," said Alicia Beck, director of SWFT. "In two years alone, we've helped more than 350 students who are finding employment in positions with an average hourly wage of $20. Parkland is always standing ready to support our community and is looking forward to a new year with new opportunities for our SWFT students."

Students may select from 12 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 welding and HVAC installation; office assistant and computer technical skills; sterile processing technician, EMT, and CNA; and truck driver CDL, automotive repair, and forklift, among others. Programs can be completed in a year or less.

Spring enrollment is underway. To begin the process, interested individuals should visit  

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, formerly incarcerated persons, those receiving housing assistance, and others demonstrating financial need. 

The grant period began December 2021 and extends through December 2022.

For more information, please visit or contact the SWFT program office at 217/353-2150.