Career and Technical Education programs at MCC offer hands-on training, real-world experience

McHenry County College joined community colleges across the state in celebrating Career and Technical Education Month this February. CTE programs provide students with hands-on training and real-world experience in a variety of industries, playing a valuable role in preparing the workforce for in-demand jobs.

“CTE programs ensure that the workforce needs of our local economy are being met,” said Dr. Arlene Santos-George, vice president of Academic Affairs and Workforce Development at MCC. “These programs continue to be relevant by preparing students with the required skills and competencies in various high-demand, high-wage, or high-skilled occupational fields.”

According to the National Skills Coalition, nearly two-thirds of jobs in the U.S. economy require education beyond high school but not necessarily a four-year college degree. Many of these jobs are in CTE fields such as health care, advanced manufacturing, and IT, which are among the fastest-growing occupations projected through 2029 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Illinois community colleges are a leading workforce developer in the state and are continuing to expand access and opportunities to dozens of good paying careers,” said Brian Durham, executive director of the Illinois Community College Board. “CTE programs at community colleges are an essential part of our state's workforce development strategy, and we are proud to be a part of preparing the next generation of workers.”

MCC is furthering its commitment to quality CTE offerings by opening its Foglia Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation this fall. The Foglia CATI will offer programs in architecture and engineering design technology; automation, robotics, and mechatronics; construction management; engineering technology; HVAC; precision machining; and welding and fabrication.

“We’re excited about the expanded training opportunities the Foglia CATI building will bring our community,” said Tom McGee, dean of Manufacturing and Advanced Technology at MCC. “We worked with many local employers to understand what they needed from their workforce and incorporated that feedback into our curriculum. Our students will receive hands-on training from experts in the field and get experience using some of the most state-of-the-art, industry standard equipment. They’ll graduate ready to excel in a variety of roles and meet the need for skilled workers in some of our community’s largest employment sectors, such as manufacturing and technology.”

In addition to programs at in the Foglia CATI, MCC recently added and redesigned several CTE programs to ensure students receive cutting-edge training and a seamless education experience. The college enhanced its programs in accounting, administrative office technologies, baking and culinary, horticulture, network security, software application design and development, and more.

CTE programs at Illinois community colleges offer a cost-effective way for individuals to pursue their career goals by costing a fraction of the tuition at four-year institutions, making it a more accessible option for many students.

Statewide, nearly 37,500 students graduated from the more than 4,600 approved CTE certificate and degree programs offered by Illinois Community Colleges in 2023.

For information about CTE programs offered at MCC, visit

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