Every quarter, the Grants Office will feature a program at College of DuPage that has been funded by a grant. These programs are just a few of the many outstanding initiatives supported by external grant funding.
Project Hire-Ed at College of DuPage
A relatively new initiative at College of DuPage is the Project Hire-Ed Registered Apprenticeship Program which is ambitious in size and scope. Through collaborations with local DuPage County employers, schools, government, and workforce organizations, Project Hire-Ed is a robust apprenticeship program designed to boost economic mobility and close the skills gap for the community workforce. Project Hire-Ed has partnered with multiple companies, including Pioneer Services, SWD Inc., and Mauser Packaging Solutions, and continues to expand its network of businesses offering apprenticeships to students in specific fields. The program has also partnered with WorkNet DuPage and local school districts to recruit strong and diverse cohorts of students.
The model implemented on campus provides a cost-effective solution for employers looking to fill open positions in several sectors, including Advanced Manufacturing, HVACR, Welding, Horticulture, Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Health Care. Students participating in the Project Hire-Ed program go through an “Earn and Learn” pathway, where they take classes at College of DuPage to earn college credit while performing on the job training (OTJ) with a partner company. Both classes and OTJ training are aligned to ensure a seamless experience for students and to ultimately address skills gaps identified by employers.
With the support of a significant grant through the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Project Hire-Ed has successfully moved beyond its pilot stage and has established a permanent presence on campus. DCEO funding facilitates the strengthening of Project Hire-Ed’s infrastructure through hiring of additional staff and supporting activities that expand the program to more partners and apprentices. We appreciate the support of DCEO and the work that Danielle and her team dedicates to this valuable program!
- College of DuPage Project Hire-Ed Program page and resources
- “COD’s Project Hire-Ed Apprenticeship Program Highlights the Power of Workforce Development” Patch article
- “College of DuPage Launches Project Hire-Ed” Daily Herald article
- Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity website
Previous Featured Programs
Through the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), College of DuPage receives approximately $2.7 million annually in federal and state funding from the Adult Education & Literacy program to support essential programming for adult learners. Adult Education provides important services that assist adults in improving skills, achieving educational goals, and transitioning to employment. These programs ultimately give students the opportunity to enter the workforce, earn a living wage, and meet the needs of the region's employers. COD demonstrates the second-highest index of need for adult education services in the state (outside of the City Colleges collective). Community College District 502 has 61,897 adults without a high school diploma, 47,065 adults living in households with incomes below the federal poverty level, and 234,693 adults in households where English is not the primary language spoken.
The College of DuPage Adult Education and ELA Office provides a variety of services and courses for adult learners, some of which are provided at no cost to the student, due to funding from ICCB. COD is one of the largest service providers of adult education in the state with a variety of program offerings including:
- Adult Basic Education (ABE) – Designed for adults who do not have a high school diploma and help students build reading, writing, and math skills and work towards obtaining their GED.
- High School Equivalency (HSE) – Courses that help prepare students to pass the GED
or an equivalent high school certificate exam.
Citizenship – Adult learners who are preparing to become United States Citizens can take free courses at College of DuPage to help them pass citizenship exams.
- English Language Acquisition (ELA) – Specifically for English as a Second Language (ESL) students, ELA courses provide free resources to help develop reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.
- Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System (ICAPS) – For students looking to enter a career pathway into a high-demand field, ICAPS gives adult learners the opportunity to earn college credit, receive assistance in job placement with partner companies, and earn certificates to help secure employment.
Funding over the years has allowed the Adult Education program to reach more communities and provide additional resources and wraparound services to students. Where many providers focus on or two areas of support, College of DuPage provides a wide array of educational and support services for the 3,200 students it sees on average annually. In particular, funding has supported the implementation of Student Success Coaches (SSCs) to provide student guidance in a variety of ways including transitioning adult students to post-secondary education or employment training. SSCs host "Student Transition Days" where adult education students tour College of DuPage and meet with career and academic program representatives to receive hands-on assistance with admissions, financial aid, scholarships, and more. SSCs also work closely with COD Navigators to help transition adult education students to post-secondary education. Over the last decade, COD's Adult Education program has transitioned more than 4,100 adults into tuition-based college courses.
The Adult Education and ELA Office partners with many internal and external stakeholders to provide a valuable link between adult learners and opportunities for employment, making the program a leader in adult education career pathways, bridge programming, and Integrated Education and Training. From COD's own Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Navigators programs to local organizations like WorkNet DuPage and other regional employers, there are many opportunities for adult learners to start a meaningful and fulfilling career.
Dan Deasy, Operations and Compliance Manager, oversees and coordinates the ABE, HSE, and ELA program activities at College of DuPage and ensures students are making the most out of the Adult Education programs offered here. We are glad ICCB values and supports the strength and quality of adult education at COD, and we appreciate the hard work Mr. Deasy and his team to maintain an excellent and highly respected program!
Through the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), College of DuPage receives almost $3 million annually in federal and state funding from the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). This legislation delivers federal support to state and local high school and college CTE programs that provide students the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to succeed in today's competitive marketplace. COD offers essential CTE programming for students, from skilled trades to applied science and technology programs. The funding received by COD supports over 250 CTE degrees and certificate programs, including everything from accounting, computer and internetworking technologies, electronics, HVACR, manufacturing, and welding. Perkins funding supports CTE at all levels, from professional development opportunities for faculty and staff, to equipment purchases to promote hands-on learning as well as skills development programs (such as STEMCON) for students.
Thanks to the generous support of Perkins funding over the years, many successful projects have been completed at COD. For example, in 2018 a group Architecture Design + Build studio students, led by Mark A. Pearson, AIA, designed and built the Fuel Garden and Russell R. Kirt Prairie Pavilion over 8 weeks with $10,000. The pavilion serves as both a beautiful physical gathering space in the prairie as well as a symbol bringing awareness to the COD Fuel Garden.
A different program supported by Perkins funding is the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVACR) program at COD led by Bob Clark. Over the past five years, Dr. Clark has expanded the program to include state-of-the-art HVAC electronic control trainers for COD's lab facility, which were designed by Dr. Clark. These trainers teach students HVAC skills and competencies through the construction and building of the trainers. As a result of these successful teaching innovations, Dr. Clark has been featured in multiple trade articles, and has been honored as both the Illinois ACTE Teacher of the Year and Regional ACTE Teacher of the Year. He was also nominated for the National ACTE Teacher of the Year.
Jonita Ellis, CTE Program Improvement Manager, oversees and coordinates Perkins activities at COD to ensure faculty, staff, and students are making the most out of the CTE programs offered here. We appreciate the hard work and dedication that Ms. Ellis and the Academic Affairs team dedicates to executing the CTE programs supported by Perkins!
- College of DuPage Career and Technical Education page and resources
- College of DuPage Architecture Design + Build Studio project brochure, Summer 2018
- "COD Builds World-Class Electronics Trainers Funded by Perkins Grant" Patch article
- Illinois Community College Board website
The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) hosts the Illinois Cooperative Work Study Program (ICWS), a grant program that "...is designed to enhance public-private sector partnerships, expand internship opportunities, reduce student reliance on loans, encourage permanent employment of Illinois graduates in Illinois, and provide links between academic programs and employment." Internships are increasingly important to College of DuPage students in applying their education and gaining real-world experience in the workplace, and ultimately securing employment after graduation.
Since 2010, the COD Career Services Department has received a grant from IBHE to support a program that coordinates internships for COD students with regional employers. Krystina LaSorsa, Interim Manager of Career Services, coordinates partner employers and student interns to ensure positive, relevant, and successful internship experiences. This year, COD was awarded over $44,000 to support the program which supplements employer wages paid to COD interns. Both employers and student-interns have reported their belief in the value and importance of this program and the experience it provides to our students. We appreciate the work that Ms. LaSorsa dedicates to this grant program!
- Illinois Board of Higher Education
- "College of DuPage Receives Grant to Expand Student Internship Opportunities" article
- College of DuPage Career Services Student Internship page and resources
We are always happy to work with any faculty, staff, or administrator who is interested in learning more about participating in or leading a grant-funded project. Please contact Marcia Frank or Andrew Luce to learn more!