Community colleges set goal of educating populace

By Kelsey Gibbs |

Published 05/05 2014 01:30PM

Updated 05/05 2014 01:34PM

ILLINOIS -- Community colleges are looking to the future to help more people in the state walk across the stage. Officials say they're on track to see a majority of people in Illinois have a college education by 2025. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs explains their lofty goal.

"The goal is to complete a degree or certificate and not just to enter college."

Illinois community college educators want a larger portion of Illinois' residents to have a college education. There's a pretty good reason why.

"A high school degree used to be enough to get you a good job and it just isn't anymore."

"That was yesterday. That was yesterday. And many, many of the jobs are now going to require some sort of post-secondary credential."

Executive director of the Illinois Community College Board, Karen Hunter-Anderson, says she wants the state to align with the nation's educational goals by 2025.

"The state goal is one that aligns very nicely with national goals. The net is that 60% of adults in Illinois have some college degree or credential."

With the state's 48 community colleges, a college degree is just around the corner.

"Community colleges are very flexible and so they respond to what the needs of the workforce are right now."

At Lincoln Land Community College, administrators are working to get students ready for careers.

"We're looking at our programs, all the programs in the college and we're trying to look to see if they're still relevant. Are students going to get employed?"

Lincoln Land vice president Eileen Tepatti says their campus' goal is to find out what the students needs are.

"We're always looking to our district's needs and trying to put programs there that are going to work for our students, that's going to help them get jobs."

Programs which can transition students into a four-year degree as well as those which can land them jobs. Illinois' 48 community colleges account for a majority if the state's higher education enrollees. Since 2009, there has been a 30% increase in community college degrees and certificates.

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