The past year has caused many to examine where their lives and careers are heading. Is it time for a career refresh, to learn a valuable new skill, to prepare for further degrees? We stand ready to help with affordable and accessible options.
Picture yourself at LLCC. How can we help move your life forward? No matter your age or unique circumstances, we want to help you improve your life through learning.
We expect to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever, having ourselves learned new tools and methods of serving students. At the mid-point of our spring semester, we’re busy planning for two new facilities and shifting back to more in-person learning while continuing to expand class options and student services.
It's always exciting to cut the ribbon on new learning spaces, and we have two opening this spring and summer. Here, in the heart of farm country, the Kreher Agriculture Center will be a showplace for the latest technology in agricultural sciences. Our new nursing center, being built in partnership with Memorial Health System, will allow 90 additional nursing students, for a total of 215 new nursing students annually, to learn in state-of-the-art facilities and then help fill the healthcare needs of our communities.
Throughout this pandemic, we listened to our students and studied what worked best for them. This fall, students can take classes five different ways: fully face-to-face (with a continued commitment to safety); fully online; remotely, with regular days and class times; “flex”: a combination of face-to-face, online and remote; and “hybrid,” which is mostly online with some face-to-face components.
We’re also expanding the number of short-term, online career focused programs, and offering multiple starting dates for hands-on programs so students get into the workforce faster. We see trends that more students are considering career and technical education. A new national survey of teens indicates 52% believe they can succeed in a career with postsecondary education other than a four-year degree, and 61% believe a skill-based education (such as trade skills, nursing and STEM) makes sense.
Not only have our learning options increased, but also the ways we offer support to our students. They can sit across a desk to discuss their goals with a student success coach, or communicate with them via text, Zoom, phone and even emojis. These success coaches are a student’s go-to person, to help them define goals and choose a path to achieve them. In addition, the Center for Academic Success, Math Center, Writing Center and peer tutors are available in person and online to help students navigate tough courses and assignments.
College costs remain a factor for many. Half of survey participants said they were concerned about graduating college with high debt. “The low cost of attending LLCC provides long-term economic advantage to its graduates,” says Dr. Colette D’Cruz Endeley, LLCC professor of economics. “LLCC students spend less for their education but are competitive with graduates of more expensive institutions in later earnings. LLCC graduates receive a greater return from their educational investments.”
We see a hopeful sign in that the statewide fall 2020 to spring 2021 enrollment at community colleges increased by 2.0%, a positive trend upward. According to the Illinois Community College Board, “The system remains well-positioned to offer all students, including those hardest hit by the pandemic, with education and training to thrive and infuse critical talent into the labor force as mitigations are lessened and the economy recovers.”
Hopefully spring will bring more than April showers and May flowers but also the ability for us to move our college and our lives closer to what we have known as normal. As our communities emerge from the pandemic, we acknowledge the key role we play in helping students succeed in their education and prepare for careers.
Learning doesn’t stop with a degree or certificate. LLCC serves learners of all ages, from 15 months in our Child Development Center, to those 50 years and better in the Academy of Lifelong Learning. So we mean everyone when we invite you to “picture yourself” here.
Here’s to spring, warmer weather and moving forward at LLCC!