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posted: 6/28/2013 6:11 AM

Community colleges connect employers with job seekers

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For decades, a core mission -- and strength -- of community colleges has been to prepare students for successful careers.

Numerous industries hire community college graduates each year, and many companies hire community college alumni who went on to complete bachelor's or graduate degrees.

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Throughout the Fox Valley, it is difficult to find an employer that doesn't have at least one community college alumnus on staff. In fact, many of our local business leaders started their education at a community college.

At Waubonsee Community College, we recently marked the end of another academic year with our annual commencement ceremony. At 1,128 candidates, the class of 2013 set a record as the largest in college history. Out of that total, 274 students earned Associate in Applied Science degrees. These graduates will be pursuing careers in one of 32 different fields. Their degrees are the key to unlocking the door to rewarding futures.

In addition, 793 graduates earned transfer-oriented associate degrees. Many of these individuals will continue their education at four-year institutions in order to complete baccalaureate degrees. Two years from now, these associate degree graduates will graduate once again with bachelor's degrees from a wide variety of colleges and universities and start or continue their own careers. Waubonsee plays a vital role in their success as well.

While preparing students for the jobs of today and tomorrow is at the heart of everything we do, Waubonsee is also invested in the overall employment level in our region. Our Career Services office works with employers and offers free job and internship posting. In addition, we offer highly effective career services to any member of our community and have continued the collaborative Brighter Futures initiative. This initiative began during the darkest days of the recent recession and centered on how Waubonsee can provide resources to help those affected by the economic downturn. Scholarships, special events and ongoing services all have helped countless community members weather the recession and thrive in this new economy.

Recently, we hosted a Brighter Futures event, the Kendall County Job and Resource Fair, at our Plano Campus to connect local employers with qualified local residents looking for new jobs. A partnership in every sense of the word, Waubonsee collaborated with numerous local organizations and agencies to make this event happen. In addition to the job fair aspect of the event, attendees also had the opportunity to access the resources they need to navigate the continuing challenging economic times many face.

We are planning a similar event for our downtown Aurora Campus this fall. Taking place Friday, Sept. 20, the Aurora Job and Internship Fair will focus on job and internship opportunities for our students and community residents. Learn more about this event and other college Brighter Futures resources at www.waubonsee.edu/brighterfutures.

Whether it is preparing students for the workforce, enabling students to transfer to baccalaureate institutions or hosting collaborative job fairs, Waubonsee Community College is committed to connecting our local employers with the local workforce. This is just one critical way that Waubonsee contributes positively to the economic development of our region.

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