Lincoln Land Community College is one of 10 partner colleges named in a $4 million Department of Labor grant awarded to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to establish pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs in information technology.
Over the next four years, ICCB will develop a Customized Apprenticeship Program for Information Technology (CAP-IT) at each of the partner colleges. The grant is designed to expand employment opportunities for students in the IT field, especially for veterans and groups traditionally underrepresented in IT including women, minorities and those transitioning from the justice system to the workforce.
Dr. Carmen Allen, professor of computer science at LLCC, said the grant funds will be used to establish partnerships with local employers to get LLCC students into the workforce. “An apprenticeship is more intense than an internship. Students serving an apprenticeship in IT with local employers will learn the skills required of the job with the intention of continuing to work for that employer after the apprenticeship is completed.”
“Local employers have told us they need and want to hire our computer science graduates,” she continued. “There is a skills gap in the IT area, and employers are interested in hiring individuals from diverse groups.”
Dr. Judy Jozaitis, vice president of workforce development, was instrumental in LLCC being named as a partner in the grant. “The grant funds would also be used to establish bridge programs, which would assist students in acquiring basic and technical skills, along with pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs where students are paid by employers for their work. Students could enter at various points in the pathway depending on their level of skills. Also, they would earn nationally recognized certifications in addition to college credit, gaining on the job training and ultimately a good paying job.”
LLCC has developed a new cybersecurity certificate program, with classes beginning this fall, and Dr. Allen said cybersecurity apprenticeships would be one of the partnerships established through the grant.
LLCC will receive $360,000 from the grant over the next four years.