In the news

Nancy Sweet, dean, Workforce Institute, and Aiden Tierney, welding instructor, participated in this NPR Illinois Community Voices interview about the Workforce Institute and need for workers in the trades.

Bill Harmon, professor of agronomy, wrote the essay, “Agriculture – Are you ready to make a difference in the world?” for Gold Nugget Publications’ Fall Farm Update.

Sean Keeley, former culinary specialist, wrote this week’s Epicuriosity 101 column on the last Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner.

In the news

Dee Krueger, director, LLCC-Taylorville, was interviewed Wednesday, Oct. 6 on the WTIM Morning Talkshow. She discussed eight-week course options, Campus Visit Day and the LLCC-Taylorville Financial Aid Workshop.

Illinois community colleges boost local economies

Speakers, including Dr. Lazaro Lopez, at the ICCB press conference A new report was issued by the Illinois Community College Board at a press conference yesterday that shares how Illinois’ 48 community colleges boost local Illinois economies and are important sources of revenue and employment for the communities and regions they serve.

LaCrea Lott and Candace SilasLaCrea Lott, LLCC graduate, and Candace Silas, director, Open Door – Workforce Equity Initiative, attended the press conference. LaCrea spoke on her experience in the CNA to Medical Assistant Bridge and Workforce Equity Initiative programs and how the college and these programs impacted her life.

“It is clear that community colleges remain a solid return on investment for local communities and the students that use them.  Our system plays a vital role in meeting the needs of  Illinois’ workforce by providing quality training and education and gives students a greater opportunity to  earn higher wages in countless industries throughout the state,” said ICCB executive director, Dr. Brian Durham.

The report evaluates Illinois’ community college system on its ability to meet the needs of business and industry, equity, student outcomes, students’ return on investment, and the system’s overall economic impact to local economies and job growth.  The report also examines statewide trends including employment, population, race and ethnicity changes, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Community colleges remain a valuable resource for students of all walks of life.  We are committed to creating an equitable path to economic mobility no matter who you are or where you live through the Illinois community college system,” said Dr. Lazaro Lopez,  ICCB Board Chair.

The study found that more than 84 percent of students who earn a long-term certificate or associate degree in applied science programs are employed in solid paying career jobs within a year of graduation.

Investing in an Illinois community college long-term certificate or associate in applied science degree yields an average annual rate of return of nearly 27 percent, with an average wage increase of nearly 40 percent one year after graduation.

Annual earnings are even greater in specific areas of study. For students graduating with Long-Term Certificates in Architecture and Construction programs, the average annual earning five years after graduating is $60,552, while manufacturing program graduates earn $54,378 in the same timeframe.

The study also looked at Illinois community colleges’ impact on local economies. The total economic output of Illinois community colleges on the statewide economy in fiscal year 2020 is estimated at $3.5 billion and 43,316 jobs.

LaCrea Lott speaking at press conferenceThe Illinois Community College System and ICCB are committed to creating, supporting and expanding workforce training opportunities equitably in high-need communities. In 2019, Illinois started the Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) program, a grant program designed to increase workforce opportunities for African Americans which are severely underrepresented among Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. Over the last two years, the WEI program has granted nearly $40 million to address education and unemployment gaps in the African American and other minority communities throughout Illinois.

When examining earnings one year prior to completion compared to three years after completion, African American student earnings increased 47 percent while Latinx students increased their earnings by 57 percent.

To review the full study, please visit

In the news

Nancy Sweet, dean, Workforce Institute, and Aidan Tierney, instructor of welding, were interviewed Sept. 21 for the NPR Illinois “Community Voices” program regarding Workforce Institute programs and opportunities for students. The program will air at a later date to be determined.

In the news

Barb Eades, assistant director, LLCC Foundation, and Sean Keeley, culinary specialist, were interviewed Sept. 17 on Sports Radio 1450 AM Springfield about the Foundation’s partnership with LLCC Culinary and Hospitality Arts to offer a five-course gourmet dinner kit pickup on Friday Oct. 1, 3-6 p.m. The “Around the World” themed menu will feature cuisine from a variety of regions and gives culinary students a first-hand opportunity to prepare and serve the meal which can then be finished with a little preparation at home.