Heartland Community College celebrates Workforce Equity Program Students

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[December 30, 2022]  Heartland Community College celebrated students completing certificate programs supported by Workforce Equity Initiative.

The Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) was established in 2019 as an innovative partnership with Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, and community colleges. The WEI consortium works to create, support, and expand job training opportunities for areas with identified workforce skills gaps. The grant supports short-term training opportunities, career and technical education certificates, and stackable credentials at Heartland.

Eighty-six WEI scholars were recently recognized for completing programs directed toward certification for in-demand jobs. These high-impact programs develop and foster the skills of individuals that are looking to retool their job skills or directly enter into the workforce. Heartland certification programs such as EV Maintenance, Medical Assistant, Office Assistant, Truck Driver Training, and more, are designed to create a quick pathway to occupations earning 30 percent above the area living wage.

In December of 2021 Heartland received a $1M WEI grant from the Illinois Community College Board to engage African American, Latinx, and low-income learners to get career training that can move them quickly into the workforce.

The Workforce Equity Initiative grant will have served 100 learners in 2022, 92.5 percent of whom are African American.

“Heartland continues to expand our programs to ensure every resident in the district can come and discover,” said Terrance Bond, Assistant to the President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

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“This WEI program is providing immediate resources to engage adult, underemployed, or unemployed learners who may be cautious about higher education. Some WEI scholars are headed right to the workforce with a short-term certification, and others are advancing in programs that require additional study.”

The grant funds tuition for learners accepted into the program, and also a series of services including success coaching and career navigation support, fees and technology support, transportation, and childcare needs.

“With WEI we are changing lives in real time,” said WEI Program Coordinator Tony Jones, “We provide individuals with the opportunity to elevate themselves by getting credits and training for new careers.”

Heartland offers 42 Workforce stackable certificates and credentials leading to immediate careers and building towards an associate degree. Prospective learners who are interested in workforce programs may be eligible for a number of scholarship opportunities. Visit heartland.edu for more information.

[Steve Fast
Assistant to the President, Public Information and Communication
Heartland Community College]


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