Parkland College begins workforce equity training


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Parkland Community College is located at 2400 West Bradley Ave. The college announced a potential hybrid plan Tuesday for its fall semester that would have students attend classes partially online and partially on-campus.

By Julie Kang, Assistant News Editor

Parkland College recently started a program that works to “provide free, short-term training to underserved populations in the college’s district,” according to a press release. The goal is to prepare residents to transition into careers in high demand that also pay family-sustaining wages.

Fifteen community colleges, Parkland College being one, were chosen to partake in the total $18.5 million WEI. The grant period is from October 2019 to September 2020.

The program, Support for Workforce Training, focuses on helping over 150 residents transition within a year or less. An Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative grant of $1.5 million was donated in efforts to point to historic underrepresentation of African Americans in these high-demand, well-paying careers. Because of this, African Americans were required to comprise 60% of the people in the SWFT program.

The initiative will provide tuition and fee waivers for training. In addition, employment barriers, higher education-access barriers, and local workforce gaps will be addressed. Eligible participants will also be able to receive services such as academic mentoring and counseling.

“This program will help people become certified for careers where there are skill gaps and workforce shortages in our region,” said State Representative Carol Ammons in the press release. “I am honored to have fought for this money on behalf of those looking for work, and I look forward to working with Parkland College to maximize this grant money and its impact on our community.”

Students can choose from 22 certificate or degree programs at Parkland College, which are in four technical career categories: business and IT services, transportation and distribution, healthcare and construction and manufacturing. This opens doors to many career options.

The program is a collaboration with Ammons and the Illinois Community College Board. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus lead the initiative, with Ammons showing substantial support.

“I am proud to support a program that creates ample opportunities in a realistic way,” Ammons said. “These resources also include childcare, transportation, and other non-monetary tools that will ensure that ‘life’ doesn’t get in the way of making life better.”

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