March 26, 2018
For Immediate Release
If I asked how you think most college students learn, most likely you would say through lectures, reading textbooks, studying and taking tests. While this model is the traditional foundation of our higher education system, today’s learning environments are rapidly changing. Open educational resources (OER), electronic textbooks, video conferencing, virtual reality, game based learning and so many more innovations are finding their way into the lesson plans of educators.
While traditional classroom concepts are evolving, our college continues to build on unique learning experiences. Our Workforce Ready programs, also known as career and technical majors, have always relied heavily on a combination of book and hands-on learning using real-world tools and techniques. This combination of learning works so well for thousands of students each year at Lake Land and more than two-thirds of all community college students in Illinois, according to the Illinois Community College Board.
At Lake Land College, we offer more than 100 Workforce Ready majors that train students with the skills necessary to graduate and enter the regional workforce. Our latest economic impact study indicated that nine out of 10 area employers have hired a Lake Land College alumnus in the past. We’re seeing similar results with our current Laker Alumni Pride campaign. One area company discovered 25 percent of its 400 employees are Laker Alumni. Another was excited to report that all of their employees were alumni. What an amazing testament to Lake Land’s impact on our local economy.
These alumni made the wise decision to invest in a Lake Land College education, allowing them to enter the workforce with a positive financial outlook. To put the value of a Workforce Ready degree into perspective, consider that a Lake Land education costs roughly $4,000 per year, or $8,000 for a degree. A student who graduates in two years and secures employment in a technical field at $40,000 per year will see a net positive return of $72,000 after four years. In that same four-year time period, a student who attends a university will face an average of $16,000 per year in tuition and fees (excluding room and board), or $64,000 for a degree. At the conclusion of those four years, the graduate will just be getting started, possibly facing a future with significant student loan debt.
Through our program advisory committees, Lake Land College instructors regularly consult with industry professionals to ensure our course content is relevant and reflects the needs of area businesses. Our faculty regularly seek new opportunities to help students reach their educational goals. This summer the college will introduce the new IT-LaunchCode certificate, in conjunction with St. Louis based tech training company LaunchCode. This 20-week boot camp trains students in web application development skills and will be offered in the evenings at the Lake Land Kluthe Center in Effingham. The Medical Assistant major has added a new flexible online component to its options. Students can now take all of their classes online and only have to travel to campus one night a week for lab.
Providing relevant work experience is at the forefront of our Workforce Ready programs and these opportunities will expand with a new apprenticeship program that is being developed through a grant from the Illinois Community College Board. Plans are to create at least 30 new apprenticeships in both the production technician and the plastics manufacturing fields as well as the finance and banking field.
As you think about your future, or that of your child’s, I encourage you to explore a Workforce Ready major at Lake Land College. The combination of hands-on learning and classroom experience may be a perfect investment in your future success.
Dr. Josh Bullock
Lake Land College President