At Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC), we aspire to be a diverse, learner-centered institution that is a recognized leader, anticipating and responding to academic, economic and cultural needs of the community and assisting individuals to realize lifelong educational goals and reach their full potential.
The new Open Door mentorship program provides us with another way to live out this vision.
The mission of the Open Door mentorship program is to positively impact African-American male persistence, retention and completion at LLCC. Through the application of academic, career and social/emotional enrichment, Open Door will successfully mentor men to take the first step on their educational journey while being groomed for the next level.
We believe that our program is unique and offers several opportunities. The students will be challenged academically and changed inwardly. In many cases the young men are the first in their families to attend college, so they have an extra load of expectations and responsibilities. This has made their college experience even more urgent, and their failure a greater burden. A program like this is key to the success of these young bright minds. To be able to network and build business relationships in Springfield can only set them up for success. This success will impact not only them, but our city, our community and our economy.
The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Quantum Growth Partnership (Q5) has provided funding to ensure the success of this new program. “The Open Door program will provide minority male students with strategic opportunities to ‘try on’ various careers that exist within our community,” said Chamber President and CEO Chris Hembrough. “The opportunities will result in internships through local businesses and organizations, provide a combination of academic and business mentoring, and ultimately lead to employment opportunities related to the career path they have both discovered and decided to pursue.”
Businesses that have already connected with us to either mentor, lead professional development sessions or offer internships include Memorial Medical Center, Central Illinois Community Blood Center, Bunn-O-Matic (Bunn), Springfield Police Department, City of Springfield, Troy Armstrong DJ Company, Springfield Electric, Town and County Bank, U.S. Department of Justice, Go Hard Lawn Care, Thermionics Corp., Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Big Brother Big Sister, State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Midwest Family Broadcasting, Farmers Insurance, Northwestern Mutual, Law Office of FeldmanWasser, Illinois National Bank, Hanson Engineering, Horace Mann and SIU School of Medicine. We are very excited about these partnerships, as these business relationships are key to the success of the young men in the program.
First year LLCC student Demetrius Young knows first-hand the value of a program like this. Demetrius credits Open Door for giving him a better outlook on life and also more tools to be a success in life and college. He is the first in his family to graduate from high school and the first to attend college. Majoring in graphic design, he can now see himself reaching his goals and becoming a business owner. “Open Door has given me the confidence and the knowledge to attain my dreams and goals,” said Demetrius. “I don’t know if I would be as successful in my first year of college without the support from Open Door. My father died when I was young, and Open Door is allowing me to see and experience things most men from my neighborhood would not experience.”
For more information, or if your business or organizations would like to be involved in Open Door, visit www.llcc.edu/open-door-program or call 217.786.3689.