Lincoln Land Community College is currently looking for 20 low-income students to participate in its Open Door Workforce Equity Initiative program. The program is a part of an $18.7 million Workforce Equity Initiative through the Illinois Community College Board that provides free career training in highly skilled, in-demand occupations.
Candace Silas, LLCC Open Door Program Navigator, says that the program is expanding from its fall and spring offerings of truck driver training, emergency medical technician (EMT), central sterile service technician, and nurse assistant (CNA) programs with the 20 individuals spread across those fields on their main campus in Springfield. She says that the LLCC is offering the central sterile service tech and EMT classes over the summer for the first time this year.
Silas says they are also exploring adding classes at their satellite campuses in the area in the future. Silas says that people filling out the application should also fill out the FAFSA form to determine eligibility. “With the Open Door program, they will receive free tuition for that particular program as well as a stipend. We will offer transportation assistance, child care assistance, and any other resource and support that we can to help the individual complete the program. As well as employment [during the program], we actively seek employment for the individual after they complete their training, as well.”
Silas says that the effects the program has on students is not just measured in employment. “We have seen that this is giving some individuals a second chance, and be able to have something to enable them to have a livable wage. That means a lot, especially in these high-demand occupations. Many of the people in the program have been making minimum wage for a very long time. This program will be able to strengthen their chances for obtaining a high wage.”