CLC to offer free tuition for nearly 200 students seeking career certificates

  • Desira Daniel, a Beach Park resident, recently earned a phlebotomy certificate at the College of Lake County. Phlebotomy certificates are one of nine career certificates that students can seek under the new Transform Lake County program at CLC.

    Desira Daniel, a Beach Park resident, recently earned a phlebotomy certificate at the College of Lake County. Phlebotomy certificates are one of nine career certificates that students can seek under the new Transform Lake County program at CLC. courtesy of College of Lake County

 
 
Updated 1/3/2020 7:21 PM

Thanks to a special $1.5 million state grant, the College of Lake County is able to offer nearly 200 Lake County residents seeking career certificates in certain fields free tuition, textbooks, exam fees and other expenses.

Ali O'Brien, the college's vice president of community and workforce partnership who helped apply for the grant, said CLC is one of 15 community colleges awarded state funds through the program. She said the grants were made available to colleges that serve a certain percentage of minority students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Through the program, called Transform Lake County, students can get certificates in administrative management technology, automotive collision repair, heating and air conditioning maintenance, truck driving, assistant nursing, health care office assistant and more.

When awarding scholarships through the program, CLC will give preference to black students who live in North Chicago, Round Lake, Waukegan and Zion, O'Brien said.

"Transform Lake County creates more equity in the Lake County workforce by offering an education at no cost to the student," said Jesus Ruiz, the dean of CLC's Lakeshore Campus in Waukegan.

Lindsey Nemcek, a public relations manager for CLC, said the scholarships are available to students for the spring and summer semesters, and CLC has to spend the state money by September.

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O'Brien said she hopes the program will remove barriers to employment for scholarship recipients.

"We're hoping to connect with employers and businesses," O'Brien said. "We want to connect them to the great wave of new graduates who will be coming through in the coming months and throughout the year."

Most of the career certificate programs offered at CLC can be completed in a matter of months, and some, such as operating a forklift, can be completed in days.

The program's future is uncertain. O'Brien said CLC and the other community college officials hope to provide data to the state that shows a positive impact from the funds.

"The hope is that the state legislature will continue to find a way ... to fund the program," O'Brien said.

Applicants must complete a Transform Lake County interest form. For more information, visit clcillinois.edu/TLC or contact Ashley Ward by sending an email to award1@clcillinois.edu or by calling (847) 543-2390.

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