The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College SWFT and Adult Education Center Open House

Visit the Parkland College SWFT/Adult Ed. Center Open House on April 25

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Parkland College invites community members to an open house celebrating the new Support for Workforce Training (SWFT) and Adult Education Center.

The SWFT and Adult Education Center Open House will be held on Monday, April 25 from 3-5 p.m. in the new center, room D120. Guests are invited to drop in to tour the new SWFT and Adult Education space and learn more about the programs. At 3:30 p.m., SWFT and Adult Education directors, current students, Executive Vice President Pam Lau, Vice President of Communications and External Affairs Stephanie Stuart, and State Rep. Carol Ammons will give remarks.

With Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) grant funds, the college has been able to expand and equip a new space for the SWFT program. The space will be co-located with Parkland's Adult Education department, with the aim to provide Adult Education learners access to more career opportunities.

"Thanks to the support of the WEI, we have been able to create a dedicated career suite to prepare our SWFT-funded students for employment," said SWFT Director Alicia Beck. "Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, this flexible learning space is already hosting weekly employment skills classes, mock interviews, and regular meetings with staff and students. We look forward to incorporating new program as the use of the space evolves."

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.

Adult Education Associate Dean Tawanna Nickens is optimistic about the merger and the ability to help more students. "The co-location of Adult Education and SWFT streamlines resources and supports for adults as they transition to short-term career training programs at Parkland."

Parkland College's Adult Education department provides free classes, mentorship, tutoring, and career pathways for adults with little or no college or technical education. This can include English Second Language, college prep, basic skills, and high school equivalency classes. The program is funded by Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

More information about the SWFT program can be found at; information about Parkland College Adult Education can be found at

Parkland College to Host Perimeter Road Music Festival (Updated)

POSTPONED TO SATURDAY, MAY 7: Perimeter Road Sound Recordings Music Festival

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Parkland College's student-staffed record label, Perimeter Road Sound Recordings, is hosting a music festival for the community.

The Perimeter Road Music Festival will be held on Saturday, May 7, from 12-7 p.m. in the Student Union parking lot (B1), and will include live performances and food trucks, as well as other Parkland or community organizations. The event is free and family friendly.

Perimeter Road's second-ever music festival is entirely student-organized, and designed to provide firsthand experience in event planning, marketing, stage and equipment set up, band booking, and live soundboard mixing for students involved with the label.

For a full performance line-up, visit Community organizations interested in participating should contact Perimeter Road coordinator Deane Geiken at

Parkland College Celebrates Community College Month

Parkland College Joins Community College Month Campaign

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Parkland College joins the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) in celebrating Community College Month.

Community College Month is a month-long grassroots education and stigma-busting campaign coordinated by the ACCT to improve awareness of the economic, academic, and equity advantages of attending community colleges, and to fight inaccurate, harmful stigmas associated with junior colleges.

"Recent events have proven that community colleges are vital to our community and our state," said Parkland Board of Trustees Chair Bianca Green. "Community College Month is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate Parkland College's mission 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."

Public community colleges are designed to guarantee access to affordable, high-quality higher education for all members of the community. As institutions, they aim to help demographically and socioeconomically diverse students bypass barriers of entry to higher-level degrees or vocational and professional career skills.

"The proof is in the numbers," said Trustee and Board Secretary James Ayers. "We know that Parkland makes a significant economic impact on our local, regional, and statewide economies; provides jobs; and supplies life-changing resources to our community. Our students graduate with a clear path forward to a higher quality of life. We are proud to dedicate ourselves to and serve our community through Parkland College."

In fiscal year 2020, Parkland College provided a total economic output of $85.7 million on the statewide economy and serves the needs of District 505, Illinois' third largest community college district. The fully accredited public college offers over 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 engage the community in learning.

Follow Parkland College's social media pages for more #CCMonth.

Parkland College Art Students Awarded in Art Exhibits

Parkland College Art Students Exhibit at NIU, GSU

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Several Parkland College Art and Design students were accepted into 2022 Illinois Community College Juried Exhibition at Governors State University.

The exhibition ran from February 14-26, with $1500 in awards presented during the reception on February 26.

Participating Parkland students included:

  • Jori Basset
  • Katy Geurts
  • Kalyn Warner
  • Jordan Frederick
  • Alexa Harmon

Katy Geurts won Best in Show and Jori Basset won a Merit Award.

Jordan Frederick, Kalyn Warner, and Liam Dee were also included in the Northern Illinois University Community College Virtual Art Exhibition. A virtual gallery can be found here

[from top: Katy Geurts, Jori Basset, Kalyn Warner]

Parkland Surgical Technology Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Parkland College Surgical Technology Program Turns 50

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The Parkland College Surgical Technology Program will be celebrating 50 years of instruction with an Anniversary Open House on Wednesday, April 27 from 5–7 p.m. in the U Wing.
“The Surgical Technology Open House will be a chance to celebrate the success of a program that’s 50 years strong,” said program director Janice Grewatz. “We are so excited to be able to welcome the public back to highlight the wonderful and talented students, alumni, and faculty that have shaped the past triumphs and future opportunities of the program.”
The Open House will feature surgeon guest speaker Dr. James Harms, remarks from Parkland president Dr. Ramage, light refreshments, a raffle, and a presentation highlighting program alumni.

James J. Harms, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery at Carle Foundation Hospital. After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he received postgraduate training at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago, where he also completed his residency in orthopedic surgery. He has worked with the Carle Clinic Association for the last 40 years.
Alumni are asked to submit their photos and stories here.

While the Open House is open to the public, please RSVP at by April 20.
For more information about the Surgical Technology program, please visit