A $4.0 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, announced earlier this month, will support the development and expansion of apprenticeship programs. The grant will allow the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to serve more than 1,600 apprentices in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs that will lead to employment in the information technology sector. The ICCB has partnered with Kishwaukee College and nine other Illinois community colleges that represent the geographic and demographic diversity of the state.
“The community college apprenticeship programs integrate classroom learning with paid employment,” said Dr. Lazaro Lopez, chairman of the ICCB. “Apprenticeship programs are critical to supporting economic development in communities across our state by creating seamless pathways for residents to acquire the skills to meet employer workforce needs.”
Over the next four years, the ICCB will work to develop or expand a Customized Apprenticeship Program-Information Technology (CAP-IT) Model at each of the ten partner colleges. This model includes bridge programs to help low-skilled and low-wage workers improve their basic skills; programs to provide related technical instruction; and apprenticeship programs to provide paid work based learning and postsecondary education.
“The expansion of the CAP-IT model will benefit from statewide efforts to expand apprenticeships in multiple industry sectors across Illinois,” said Dr. Brian Durham, executive director of the ICCB. “Spurred by the alignment of education, workforce, and economic development partners working toward a common goal, Illinois is poised to be a leader in the development of statewide pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship.”
Kish will receive extensive professional development, support, and technical assistance. The ICCB will utilize its existing Professional Development Network, supplemented by support from CompTIA, Jobs for the Future, and Harper College to ensure that the colleges have the resources they need to be successful.
In addition to expanding apprenticeship opportunities, participating colleges will be looking to identify ways to promote greater inclusion and diversity in apprenticeships.
“We are privileged that ICCB chose Kishwaukee to be a partner,” says Joanne Kantner, vice president of instruction at Kish. “We are excited about strengthening our relationship with local business and expanding opportunities to students, especially historically underserved or underprepared populations.”
The other nine partner colleges include:
City Colleges of Chicago (Chicago)
College of Lake County (Grayslake)
Illinois Central College (Peoria)
Lincoln Land Community College (Springfield)
Oakton Community College (Des Plaines)
Parkland College (Champaign)
Prairie State College (Chicago Heights)
Rend Lake College (Ina)
Richland Community College (Decatur)