Expanding Work-Based Learning, Workforce Development Opportunities in the Mississippi and Rock River Region

Collaborations Among High Schools, Community Colleges, and Employers Provide Opportunities for Students

River Bend Community Unit School District #2 is working with local manufacturers to provide employers with viable solutions to manpower shortages. A recent welding apprentice student was placed with JT Cullen, a local steel and welding fabrication company. The student is completing his senior year and is in the Eastern Iowa Community College welding apprenticeship program through a partnership with Clinton Community High School, the College, and the Illinois employer in Fulton. The JT Cullen’s plant manager is thrilled to have a Fulton High School student on-site daily, learning and working.

A second River Bend student spent the summer working for Hero BX, a biodiesel manufacturer. Fulton High School Principal Bob Gosch met with Hero BX leaders in the spring to discuss how they might mutually support each other. Hero BX needed a laboratory technician with a chemistry background. Fulton High School offers 10 hours of dual credit chemistry through a partnership with Sauk Valley Community College. When a student learned about the opportunity from Principal Gosch, she investigated and applied for the summer work. She was a great fit, and Hero BX and Fulton High School are now exploring how the partnership can continue while the student completes her senior year. Flexible scheduling and Fulton’s work-study program may allow the student to earn elective credits during the school day and continue to support the laboratory needs at Hero BX.

Whiteside Area Career Center (WACC) Places Students in Work-Based Learning Opportunities

This school year, WACC anticipates placing approximately 150 students in clinical, internship, and/or job shadow opportunities:

  • 64 CNA/nursing students in a 3-site rotation
  • 64 Allied Health students placed in an array of medical field interests
  • 15 welding/manufacturing students with a variety of manufacturers
  • 7 elementary education students in area classrooms
  • 5 automotive students with service centers/dealerships
  • 4 Computer Tech students with those in need of IT support

SVCC Receives Pipeline for the Advancement of the Healthcare Workforce Program (PATH) Grant

Sauk Valley Community College (SVCC) has several exciting initiatives happening within workforce development, including with their K-12 partners. SVCC was awarded $488,000 by the Illinois Community College Board as part of the statewide Pipeline for the Advancement of the Healthcare Workforce Program (PATH) initiative, which allocated $25 million to all colleges statewide. PATH was established to create, support, and expand the opportunities of individuals in nursing and select healthcare pathways, to obtain credentials and degrees that allow them to enter and/or advance their careers. This program aims to address the shortage of workers in the healthcare industry that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the initiative, SVCC’s target goal for program student completions in healthcare areas is 266 for 2022-2023.

CNA Pass Rates

SVCC is pleased to announce that spring and summer CNA students achieved a state exam pass rate of 100%. These students are vital to workforce development in the healthcare sector and will also be pursuing additional studies to complete the LPN certificate or ADN degree.

Career/Tech Ed Enrollment and Apprenticeship Efforts

Fall 2022 enrollments in SVCC’s manufacturing programs are strong, particularly those majoring in multicraft, HVAC, and robotics. SVCC is looking forward to the solar program’s growth and those courses will be offered in the Spring of 2023. They are currently consulting with two local manufacturers on utilizing their approved apprenticeship program in industrial maintenance.

More Updates

Student Advisory Council: Winter 2023 Meeting

SAC members provided thoughtful insights on their course selection and advising experiences, plus shared their perspectives on high school graduation, college enrollment, and community college remediation data from the Illinois School Report Card.

2022 In Review

In 2022, the Success Network expanded its reach and impact through thoughtful convenings, engagement with students, new supports and funding opportunities for Leadership Communities, and the launch of a new policy committee.

Agriculture Career Expo Held in Vandalia

The Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter in Vandalia hosted a Career Expo on November 10. They had 17 booths at the fair and discussed various career