Illinois community colleges celebrate workforce training during Career and Technical Education Month

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QUINCY — February is Career and Technical Education Month, and Illinois community colleges across the state are celebrating their valuable role in preparing the workforce for in-demand jobs. CTE programs offered at community colleges provide students with hands-on training and real-world experience in a variety of industries including healthcare, manufacturing and technology.

John Wood Community College offers several career and technical education programs to prepare students for immediate employment.  Students can earn certificates or associate of science degrees in accounting, agriculture, automation and robotics, business, CAD, computer science, diesel technology, early childhood, electrical, emergency services, health sciences, HVAC, industrial maintenance, logistics, manufacturing, office technology, truck driver training and welding.

“With strategic focus and long-term planning, the college continues to present the district served with excellent opportunities to support our community’s workforce,” JWCC Dean of Career and Technical Education David Hetzler said in a press release.

JWCC’s commitment to CTE is demonstrated by its Workforce Development Center Expansion Project, a 14,170 square foot expansion project in Quincy supported by a federal EDA grant. It will include a new truck driving training addition, expansion of the east side including a new physical building entrance, expanded space for both HVAC and business and industry. A remodel of the interior of the building will include expanded space for welding, industrial maintenance, manufacturing, automation and robotics, and flexible use-space for new programs such as a virtual reality lab. The project is estimated to be completed by October 2023.

According to the National Skills Coalition, nearly two-thirds of jobs in the U.S. economy are middle-skill jobs that require education beyond high school but not a four-year college degree. Many of these jobs are in CTE fields such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing and IT, which are among the fastest-growing occupations projected through 2029 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CTE programs at Illinois community colleges offer a cost-effective way for individuals to pursue their career goals by costing a fraction of the tuition at four-year institutions, making it a more accessible option for many students.

“Illinois community colleges have a long history of working with local businesses and industries to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s workforce,” said Brian Durham, executive director of the Illinois Community College Board. “CTE programs at community colleges are an essential part of our state’s workforce development strategy, and we are proud to be a part of preparing the next generation of workers.”

Statewide, nearly 36,000 students graduated from the more than 4,600 approved CTE certificate and degree programs offered by Illinois community colleges in 2022.

For more information about CTE programs offered at JWCC, visit jwcc.edu/careertech.

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