The Parkland College Blog

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

Child Development Center Grant to Help Parents in Need

Childcare Grant to Provide Stipends to Student-Parents

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Thanks to a federal grant, Parkland College's Child Development Center will be able to offer childcare stipends to full- or part-time students who are also parents.

Starting today, Parkland College students can apply for and receive help through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant, designed to support the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education through the provision of campus-based childcare services.

With the grant, full-time student-parents could qualify for 100-percent tuition coverage, while part-time student-parents could receive a prorated amount of coverage based on number of credit hours per semester. The grant will also expand the Child Development Center by two additional rooms to increase capacity, broaden comprehensive support services, and raise awareness of resources to single parents and pregnant students, says Adrienne Shockley, center director.

"The goal of this project is to help Parkland students with young children take advantage of the high-quality childcare available to them on campus," Shockley said. "The more barriers we can remove for student-parents, the more likely they are to complete their college studies and obtain careers that can sustain a high-quality of life for their families."

Available, affordable, and high-quality childcare for working families has been at the forefront of Sen. Tammy Duckworth's priorities along with fellow legislators who jointly introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Small Business Child Care Investment Act earlier this year.

"Shrinking childcare options make it even harder for student parents who are trying to balance college coursework and raising children," said Duckworth. "I'm proud that this funding will help Parkland's Child Development Center significantly increase access to childcare services so that more student parents in the Champaign area can focus on getting an education that will help them provide a better future for their families."

Eligible students will:

  • have a 6-week to 5-year-old child in need of childcare and have successfully completed enrollment at PCDC
  • be currently enrolled as a Parkland student
  • maintain a grade point average of at least 2.5 out of 4.0 in subsequent semesters
  • provide documents to determine financial need, credit hours, and GPA

Childcare tuition scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority consideration for any open spots will be given to low-income student families. Tuition coverage is awarded per credit hour.

For more information, please visit or contact the Center at 217/373-3777.

Women's EmpowHERment Group to Host Virtual Networking Event

"How is Your NETworking?" by the Women's EmpowHERment Group

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The Women's EmpowHERment Group will present "How is Your NETworking?" on Tuesday, December 7 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

This virtual networking event will feature a panel of five local women entrepreneurs and community leaders, who will share their tips and strategies on network building and engaging in networking activities. Following the panel, participants will have the opportunity to practice networking with EmpowHERment Group volunteers in small guided groups.

Attendees are asked to RSVP at this link.

Panelists include: Andrea Rundell, executive director at the YWCA of the University of Illinois, and co-founder of the Women's EmpowHERment Group; Mariah Madison, CEO and founder of Buy Black Chambana; Kate Insolia, owner and artistic director of Urbana Dance Company; Mila Fuller, owner of Nothing Bundt Cakes; and Rachel Storm, arts and culture coordinator for the city of Urbana.

The Women's EmpowHERment Group was founded by Parkland College and the YWCA of the University of Illinois to create an empowering space for women to find online support, learning, and networking opportunities to advance their careers. For more information, visit or contact Andrea Rundell at at 217/344-0721.