The Parkland College Blog

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.

AGCO Announces New Technical Training Program at Parkland College

Program to train AGCO dealership technicians will open Jan 2022

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AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO), a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and precision ag technology, announced a new program with Parkland College’s Midwest Center for Precision Agriculture (MCPA) in Champaign, Illinois, to expand dealer technical training offerings in January 2022. The program will leverage AGCO technical experts to train technicians from existing dealerships to support the company’s agricultural equipment, such as tractors and planters.
The presence of AGCO’s large ag equipment–including those produced by the manufacturer’s Fendt® and Massey Ferguson® brands–has grown across North America, which has increased demand for qualified technicians who are able to service and maintain its precision ag machinery. AGCO’s participation with Parkland College and other technical schools will help ensure its dealerships of highly-trained professionals and reduce their travel time, costs, and time spent away from dealership locations.
“AGCO is excited to team up with Parkland College,” said Robert Yunghans, manager of aftersales training for AGCO North America. “Parkland’s Precision Ag center is well known for producing some of our industry’s top professionals and this program will not only benefit them, but also our dealers and farmers across the Midwest.” 
Based in Champaign, Illinois, Parkland College is a comprehensive community college with a longstanding reputation for excellence in agriculture education and diesel technology. The MCPA provides students, area employers, regional growers, and high school educators the knowledge and skills-based training to be successful.  
Parkland is recognized as the #2 Precision Agriculture community college in the country, and utilizes top-notch facilities such as the Tony Noel Agriculture Technology Center and Parkhill Applied Technology Center to deliver the most advanced precision agriculture curriculum in the region.   
“Parkland is pleased to expand our nationally recognized precision agriculture programming to include the opportunities provided by AGCO,” said Thomas Ramage, Parkland’s president. "Welcoming AGCO to campus will allow us to expand training opportunities on our campus, expose Parkland students and faculty to emerging technologies in the agriculture industry, and assist in meeting a critical workforce need for skilled technicians."
In addition to the education and training assets at Parkland College, the Champaign-Urbana community is a global AgTech hub and home to the University of Illinois. The company opened the AGCO Acceleration Center at the University of Illinois Research Park in 2018, which advances technology and innovation across AGCO’s grain, seed processing, swine, and poultry production equipment brands.  

Fendt and Massey Ferguson are registered trademarks of AGCO.
About AGCO
AGCO (NYSE:AGCO) is a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and precision ag technology. AGCO delivers customer value through its differentiated brand portfolio including core brands like Challenger®, Fendt®, GSI®, Massey Ferguson® and Valtra®. Powered by Fuse® smart farming solutions, AGCO’s full line of equipment and services helps farmers sustainably feed our world. Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, USA, AGCO had net sales of $9.1 billion in 2020. For more information, visit For company news, information and events, please follow us on Twitter: @AGCOCorp. For financial news on Twitter, please follow the hashtag #AGCOIR.
About Parkland College
Parkland College is a fully accredited public community college serving the needs of District 505, Illinois' third largest community college district. Offering 130+ degree and certificate options for career placement or academic transfer, Parkland has provided vocational-technical skills training and traditional academic instruction to more than 350,000 people since 1967. Parkland College's mission is to cultivate inquiry, practical application of knowledge, and broad enrichment across the community to better serve the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of the district. For more information about the institution and academic offerings, visit or follow the college on Instagram at @parkland_college and Twitter @parklandcollege.

Parkland Board Approves Technology Update, ECCA Certificate

Board of Trustees General Meeting, December 15

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Parkland College will soon upgrade its student and employee intranets and launch a new career-skills pathway for area high school students.

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the purchase of two portal platform designs to replace the existing student and employee portal. The current portal is operating on outdated technology.

Following a year spent exploring solutions, Parkland's Intranet Exploratory Committee recommended purchasing the services of New Jersey-based technology services provider Ferrilli to design the employee portal based on the company's expertise in developing similar solutions for higher education clients. To replace the student version of the portal, the Intranet Exploratory Committee consulted with and recommend the services of local creative firm Surface 51, which developed the relaunch of the website in 2018.

Trustees also approved a new career pathway for the college's Early College and Career Academy (ECCA), culminating in the new Precision Agriculture Fundamentals certificate. This six-credit hour certificate will prepare graduating high school seniors for internships or entry-level employment in precision agriculture, and will allow stacking with other Parkland agriculture credentials such as the Precision Agriculture Technology certificate or the Precision Agriculture associate's degree.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • the purchase of:

    • professional services from Ferrilli, $49,350

    • professional services from Surface 51, $28,125

  • the filing of the following grant applications:

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Innovative Bridge and Transitions Grant

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI)

  • the acceptance of funds from external sources:

    • Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN): Renewable Energy Resources Trust Fund (IEPA funding)—Energy Efficiency Internships

  • personnel appointments: 

    • Peter Delaney, Director, Information Security, Technical Support Services

    • Joshua Ingalsbe, Application Support Engineer, Technical Support Services

    • Emily Charny, IT Admin Asst., Technical Support Services

    • Amy Chamley, Child Development Faculty, Arts and Sciences

    • Charles Mitsdarfer, Agriculture Faculty, Agriculture

    • Cynthia Medrano, Learning Technologies and Collections Librarian, Learning Commons