Career and Technical Education Programs prepare students for tomorrow's careers

INA, Ill. (Feb. 11, 2019) – They say you can’t choose your family, but this February at Rend Lake College our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs beg to differ, posing for family photos with their RLC family.

In recognition of Career and Technical Education Month, RLC is holding a “family photo” contest for our CTE program. Throughout February, voting will take place across RLC’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Students got together with their classroom families to take a special photo that highlights their connection to their field of study, their instructor and their peers.  At the end of the month, whichever photo has the most interactions will receive a pizza party and bragging rights around campus.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) prepares individuals for high-skill, in-demand employment that furthers Illinois’ global competitiveness. Last year, roughly two-thirds of all Illinois community college graduates earned a CTE degree or certificate. CTE programs offer flexible scheduling, work-based learning, and stackable credentials that provide a pathway from education to employment not only for recent high school graduates, but also for returning adults, veterans, and workers wanting to update their skills. To ensure that students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be successful, programs contextualize instruction to the application of skills in the workplace and offer access to state-of-the-art technology. Student success in CTE programming is amplified by academic support services, work-based learning opportunities, and business engagement.

“The CTE programs at RLC continue to be some of our most in-demand offerings. Local employers have a demand for graduates who are highly-trained and ready to enter the work force,” said Lori Ragland, Vice President of Instruction and Student Affairs. “We also have an open dialogue with local business and industry to make sure we are adapting our programs to suit a changing job market in order to provide our students with an advantage no matter what field they choose.”

RLC offers many CTE health care programs, including Veterinary Assistant, Medical Assistant, Biomedical Electronics, Emergency Medical Services, Nursing, Pharmacy Assistant, Phlebotomy and Radiologic Technology.

In addition to the agriculture and health care programs at RLC, students have a wide range of options to get hands-on experience to join the local workforce. In fact, in the last year RLC has added several new certificates in Business, Early Childhood Education, and Graphic Design.

Some other CTE programs include Architecture, Automotive Technology, Computer Programming, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Diesel Technology, Heavy Equipment, Industrial Electronics, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Office Systems Technology, Truck Driver Training, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and Welding.

Other facts published by the ACTE state postsecondary CTE graduates achieve significantly higher earnings than those who majored in academic fields. Additionally, current CTE students are preparing for a nationwide shortage of skilled individuals as more than 80 percent of manufacturers report talent shortages are impacting their ability to meet customer demands.

By 2020, there will be approximately 16.5 million job openings for CTE students with some college or a two-year associate degree.

“Career and technical education programs are at the core of the community college’s mission to provide educational opportunities tailored to local business and industry needs.  These programs lead students into high demand careers in growing fields such as healthcare or cybersecurity that pay very well,” said Illinois Community College Board executive director Dr. Brian Durham.

For more information about postsecondary career and technical education programs and services at RLC visit rlc.edu. To learn more about statewide career and technical education initiatives throughout Illinois visit www.iccb.org/cte.

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