Lake County

Leadership Community

Lake County is committed to implementing a comprehensive initiative to strengthen the local ecosystem by ensuring equitable access to careers for youth. This initiative focuses on creating a robust network, enabling community partners to collaborate with local high school districts in providing apprenticeships, internships, mentoring, career awareness, career exposure, and employment opportunities both during and after high school. The framework for this is Illinois’ College & Career Pathway Endorsement system. Events will be organized with active participation from youth, ensuring their voices are heard in shaping their future career pathway exploration opportunities.

Lead Intermediary Organization

Lake County Regional Office of Education

Regional Focus

Lake County, with a peripheral focus on Cook and McHenry Counties

Areas of Expertise

  • Pathways: The region is a leader in developing pathways aligned to Illinois’ College & Career Pathway Endorsements with ROE assistance.
  • Strong Ecosystem: Lake County’s Workforce Ecosystem, comprised of the ROE, Lake County Workforce Development, Lake County Tech Campus, regional high schools, the University Center of Lake County, College of Lake County, and Lake County Partners, work collaboratively to make talent access a competitive advantage in Lake County.
  • College & Career Readiness: Lake County high school leaders have formed a college and career readiness group, focusing on pathways, the College & Career Readiness Indicator, and sharing best practices to help students be both college and career-ready.
  • LCWF Youth Task Force: Led by ROE, this group of employers, educators, and workforce leaders collaborate to bring equitable access to careers to youth. Youth are identified as being a viable option for filling skills gaps in several key areas in Lake County & the surrounding areas.

Prioritized Focus Areas

Developing work-based learning opportunities for high-wage/high-demand areas in Lake County:

  • Education
  • Health Sciences
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing

Key Successes

  • Career Z Challenge (phase 2 for Lake County: one of 35 in the nation)
  • Five out of 19 schools have applied for College & Career Pathway Endorsements
  • Partnership with virtual schools
  • Hosted trades expo for postsecondary pathway apprenticeship
  • CCRI group provides teacher professional development in manufacturing, engineering, technology and trades (METT) and family and consumer sciences (FCS), focusing on employer engagement, team challenges, and career exploration

2-Year Goals

  • Lake County high schools complete the process for College & Career Pathway Endorsements
    • Identification of career/passion of interest for Lake County students
    • Increase early college credit to meet the six-hour requirement
    • Increase participation in skill-building classes in identified pathways
    • Increase skill set (both challenging & essential) with required work-based learning hours
  • Create opportunities for county-wide career exploration and awareness (K-12)
    • Unify efforts in a central location
    • Provide teacher education/training on career exploration
    • Conduct joint team challenges
    • Implement Lake County STEM for Girls
    • Future quest advertising
  • Increase currency for College & Career Pathway Endorsements earners
    • Advocate for preferred hiring in Lake County for youth who have earned the endorsement or are on track
    • Advocate for scholarships or incentives from community colleges (books, classes, etc.)
  • Utilize virtual options to remove barriers to career exploration and internships (transportation, homeschooling population, etc.)
    • Virtual school
    • Assist in College & Career Pathway Endorsements completion
    • Development of pathway not offered in any school (example: pharmacy techs)

Community Updates

Lake County Community Update

With funding from the Telligen Community Initiative, HPEC established strategic partnerships with regional healthcare employers to better align education and training with the regional workforce needs in health informatics. This work includes increasing awareness for and the adoption of apprenticeship programs that benefit both students and employers.

Lake County Update

In AY 2016-17, the Lake County collaborative provided healthcare career exploration field trips to students from 11 high schools, and 63 students from four high