The Parkland College Blog

New Industry Apprenticeship Program Starts This Fall

ICATT to cover students' tuition, apprenticeship wages

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Starting this fall, Parkland College is partnering with a leading Midwest apprenticeship program to provide subsidized education that meets local industry demand for skilled employees in high-tech manufacturing.

Parkland's first cohort for the Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training program, or ICATT, includes two students and two local companies, Silgan Closures and Litania Sports Group. The three-year program covers students' tuition as they earn the Industrial Technology AAS degree at Parkland and lets students earn apprenticeship wages by working three days per week on the job. The program also covers students’ travel expenses.

Bobbi Scholze, dean of Parkland’s Career and Technical Education division, said today's economics often force students to have to choose between taking available industry work and attending school to upgrade their industry skills. Through ICATT, students can do both.

"It’s earn and learn," she said. "Students will have a built-in job and a college degree once they’re done. Plus, employers and schools aren’t competing for the same students."

Parkland College's 70 hour Industrial Technology program will prepare students to install and maintain the electromechanical, mechanical pneumatic and hydraulic systems used in manufacturing and building facilities. Students will learn electrical power and motors, control systems, pumps, compressors, pneumatics, hydraulics and power transfer devices.

The Chicago-based ICATT contacted Parkland College last spring to support the program’s efforts in downstate Illinois. Parkland then worked with the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. to drum up interest with local employers and pair ICATT's students with supporting companies. 

Scholze anticipates growth in the program as more area companies hire fully trained Parkland College graduates armed with high-tech manufacturing skills.

"This is a long-range strategy and investment in the student and in their employment," Scholze said. "It’s a wonderful thing."

Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT) is the leading apprenticeship program for high-tech manufacturers and companies with complex technologies or logistics. It is the largest program fully benchmarked on the German Dual Education System – an approach recognized globally for its combination of company-specific knowledge, theory, and hands-on learning – resulting in highly-trained employees that position companies to embrace technical advances, keep pace with market demands, and harness growth opportunities.

For more information on the ICATT Program at Parkland College, contact CTE Program Manager Aimee Densmore at

Parkland College Gets NSF Grant for New Ag Degree Program

Advanced Applicator Technician AAS launches in fall, funded through NSF-ATE

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Parkland College has received a third three-year grant from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technology Education Program to improve training in precision agriculture-related fields.  

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the release of $385,929 in NSF funds for the college's newest degree program, the Advanced Applicator Technician AAS, which launches this fall. 

NSF-ATE projects focus on educating technicians in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. This latest NSF-ATE award will support Parkland's "Curriculum for Advanced Applicator Technicians (CAAT) Project" by funding part-time faculty, training equipment, and travel for student recruitment and faculty professional development.

A part of the new Midwest Center for Precision Agriculture at Parkland College, the Advanced Applicator Technician AAS degree was developed in response to the need of area retail agribusiness leaders. Crop input practices, precision technology developments and continuous government regulation changes all demonstrate a need for greater technical expertise and training in the proper application of fertilizer and chemicals. The CAAT Project focuses on providing future custom applicator technicians with postsecondary training and credentials in this critical career sector of the agribusiness industry, fulfilling current educational and employment needs by preparing highly-skilled technicians. AAS program graduates will be proficient in basic agronomic skills, operating applicator equipment, and applying applicator procedures in accordance with Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency regulations. 

Parkland College received its first-ever NSF-ATE grant (as fiscal agent and sole awardee) in 2016 to fund the Precision Agriculture Curriculum Enhancement (PACE) Project. In fall 2018, the school was awarded its second such grant to fund UAS (drone) curriculum development. For more information on the CAAT Project, contact Assistant Professor Jennifer Fridgen, Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies, at 217/402-3662 or

Parkland's trustee board also heard spring and summer 2019 campus enrollment updates from enrollment management Dean Kristin Smigielski. 

Also at the meeting, Chief Financial Officer Chris Randles presented the tentative budget for FY 2020, which includes an operating surplus of approximately $280,000. The tentative budget will be on display for public viewing prior to final budget approval at the September meeting. 

In other business, trustees approved the following:

  • formal acknowledgement of work contracts connected to the Series 2008 and Series 2009 debt certificates used to pay for Master Plan construction work.

  • purchase of repair services from Poplar Grove Airmotive, Inc., Poplar Grove, Illinois, $69,000.

  • purchase of magnification loupes and lights from Orascoptic of Middleton, Wisconsin for the Dental Hygiene Department, $41,220.

  • purchase from Central Illinois X-ray of Bloomington, Illinois for a digital radiography system for Veterinary Technology, $22,000.

  • personnel appointments:

    • Ruthie Counter, Associate Director, Marketing and Public Relations

    • Adrienne Morrison, Director, Child Care Development Center

    • Moises Diaz, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • Robin Hayden, Medical Assistant Adjunct Faculty, Health Professions

    • Kerry Janesky, Radiologic Technology Clinical Coordinator, Health Professions

    • Stephanie Manuel, Nursing Adjunct Faculty, Health Professions

    • Charles Mitsdarfer, Agriculture Adjunct Faculty, Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies

    • Jordan Boyer Custodian Physical Plant

    • Maria Garcia,  Custodian Physical Plant

    • Kate Kaput, Compliance Coordinator, Public Safety

    • Joseph Kincheloe, Groundskeeper, Physical Plant

    • Carrie Marvin, Payroll Accountant, Business Office

    • Calvin Wilson, Custodian, Physical Plant

Area High School Students Honored at CTE Signing Day

ECCA students announced their plan to pursue a career training program at Parkland this fall

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Several area high school seniors earned recognition or declared their fall college choice during the first-ever Career and Technical Education Signing Day at Parkland College last week.

At the April 25th event in the Student Union, students earning dual credit through the Early College and Career Academy announced their intention to pursue a career training program at Parkland this fall, with the goal of entering certain career and technical education fields. Families were on hand to watch their students sign on to their chosen program at the event, organized to resemble signing days for athletic programs.

A joint effort of Education for Employment System #330 and Parkland College, the ECCA allows high school juniors and seniors to earn dual credit in eight different Parkland College program areas. Over 400 students have participated in the ECCA since its inception in the 2015-2016 school year. First- and second-year ECCA students from the following high schools received Signing Day recognition:

Earning Parkland’s Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair Certificate this spring:
Champaign Centennial: Parth Abani, Fernando Pascual, and Nelson Luyando
Champaign Central: Ivan Talbot and Andrew Musquez
Heritage: Dylan Dohme
Mahomet-Seymour: Wyatt Heimann
Tuscola: Peyton Hastings and Noah Woods
Tolono Unity: Ethan Warren and Nathan Gonzalez

Earning Parkland's Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate this spring:
Champaign Centennial: Addison Archer, Julia Davis, Ava Kneller, Nicole Martinez, and Nyesha Sullivan
Champaign Central: Jennifer Mata-Villa
Fisher: Makenzie Dow
Mahomet-Seymour: Trinity Reeves
Paxton Buckley Loda: Faith Johnson
Rantoul Township: Anna Smith, Janet Vazquez, and Yuleydi Vazquez-Valle
St. Joseph-Ogden: Heidi Novak and Abigail Dunham
Tolono Unity: Mikayla Brennan and Rianna Scroggins
Urbana: Asia Wallace
Villa Grove: Brianna Dale
Note: Completing the certificate program qualifies these students to take the Illinois Department of Public Health CNA licensing exam.

Continuing their Parkland College CTE programs in fall 2019:
Champaign Centennial: Zachary Olaivar and Javandre'a Johnson, Industrial Technology
Tolono Unity: Peyton Reed and Chayton Townsend, Automotive Technology
Urbana: Caitlyn Galla and Jeremy Machorro, Automotive Technology
Rantoul Township: Kendrick Newlin, Computer Science
Mahomet-Seymour: Hannah Kroll, Criminal Psychology
Monticello: Halle Hayes, Occupational Therapy Assisting
Paxton Buckley Loda: Brayden Geyer, Industrial Technology
Tuscola: Gabriella Gunther, Emergency Medical Services

More information on the Early College and Career Academy is available at

[Images: ECCA Automotive and CNA students at CTE Signing Day.]

Parkland Motorsports Car Show, May 4

Classic/late-model custom vehicles displayed; includes engine challenge, autocross races

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The Parkland College Motorsports program is gearing up for the 21st annual Car Show happening Saturday, May 4 in Parkland College's M parking lots.

Classic and late-model custom cars, trucks, and other vehicles will be on display at this free public event, sponsored by the Parkland Motorsports Club. Community residents are invited to display their own vehicles at the car show. Car show judging begins at noon, with judging classes grouped according to age of the car owner (26 and over or 25 and under). Student-choice and participant-vote awards will be announced beginning at 3 p.m. Advance registration is $10 if received by April 26 and is available at Registration after April 26 and on the day of the show is $15. Registration fees benefit the club's activities.

Other events rounding out the Car Show festivities will include an engine challenge; a swap meet from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the M2 parking lot (pre-registered vendors only); an autocross racing event in the M6 parking lot at 10:30 a.m. (registration from 8 to 9:30 a.m.); and a music festival.

Engine Challenge. Parkland is hosting the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge for the third year as part of the annual car show. Area residents are encouraged to come out and watch regional teams of high school students disassemble and rebuild an entire small-block Chevrolet engine to factory specifications. Teams achieving a time of 34 minutes or less qualify for the national championship at SEMA in Las Vegas. The competition will take place in the Parkhill Applied Technology Center (T building) throughout the day.

Music Festival. New this year, Parkland's Perimeter Road Sound Recordings will hold its first annual Perimeter Road Music Festival, on the same day as the car show. The free-admission, all-ages show will feature a lineup of bands from Champaign-Urbana, food trucks, and information from Parkland College student clubs and organizations. The festival will take place from 1 to 6:30 p.m. in the school's B1 parking lot. A list of bands and more information is available at the festival web page.

For additional information, or to register a vehicle for the cars show, visit   

Welding Lab Designated an Accredited Test Facility

One of four Ill. community colleges accredited as test site by American Welding Society

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Parkland College Industrial Technology's welding lab has been recognized as an Accredited Test Facility by the American Welding Society, one of only four community colleges in Illinois to hold the designation. 

Through a rigorous documentation and site inspection process, the AWS provides ATF accreditation for facilities, personnel, and equipment to test and qualify welders. For more information, visit

Test Scheduling. Tests for Certified Welder (CW) may now be scheduled by appointment with Parkland College Community Education at 217/351-2235. The industrial welding facility is located inside the Parkhill Applied Technology Center on the west side of Parkland’s campus. Original construction of the building occurred in 2013, at which time the welding lab was built to AWS specifications. 

Welding Courses. Enrollment in Parkland College Welding courses has increased each semester, resulting in waitlisted advanced courses in fall 2018 and spring 2019. Registration for summer classes begins April 1, and classes start May 20. Registration for fall classes begins April 8. Due to the popularity of the program, interested students are encouraged to visit to begin the new student enrollment process as soon as possible. 

Welding Summer Camp. The Industrial Technology program began a Summer Technology Camp in 2017 in partnership with Community Education and the Early College and Career Academy to assist area youth in career exploration. Three Machining and Welding Summer Camps are planned for 2019 and are expected to fill quickly as they have in previous years. Each two-week camp for ages 14-18, covers the same material, is project-based, and provides hands-on experience with industry equipment. Registration will begin Monday, Feb. 18 at