CLC will provide free college tuition for disadvantaged residents

  • The College of Lake County has been awarded a $1.2 million Workforce Equity Initiative Grant to continue its Transform Lake County full-tuition scholarship.

    The College of Lake County has been awarded a $1.2 million Workforce Equity Initiative Grant to continue its Transform Lake County full-tuition scholarship. Courtesy of the College of Lake County

  • Daily Herald Diversity Editor Madhu Krishnamurthy

    Daily Herald Diversity Editor Madhu Krishnamurthy

Updated 11/21/2020 5:18 PM

More Lake County residents from disadvantaged communities can get a free ride at College of Lake County as part of a grant-funded program.

The Grayslake college has been awarded a $1.2 million Workforce Equity Initiative Grant to continue its Transform Lake County full-tuition scholarship.


The Illinois Community College Board first awarded the grant to CLC in October 2019. This latest funding round will allow eligible students to earn a certificate in one of five programs: automotive, automotive collision repair, computer-aided design, HVAC and truck driving.

State Rep. Rita Mayfield, a Waukegan Democrat representing the 60th District and a member of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, helped secure funding for the program.

About 1,800 people applied for the first round of scholarships. CLC covered the cost of tuition and fees, course materials, textbooks, industry exam fees and even some living expenses for 182 students. The second round of scholarships will help 82 county residents. Under grant requirements, most recipients must be African American and from underrepresented populations.

"We've on-boarded students who were literally homeless ... who were struggling single parents," CLC grant coordinator Marissa Greathouse said. "We've on-boarded even some DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients as well, and with those students it's extremely hard to secure financial aid or just be able to afford to attend school even with financial aid."

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Equity town hall

Arlington Heights residents can participate in a virtual town hall discussion at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 on the village's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion project.

"It is really focused on the village government as an employer and service provider," Village Manager Randall Recklaus said. "It's going to be more open-ended questions with representatives of the village, school districts and area agencies."

The village held two virtual community listening sessions in October as part of an initiative to gain a deeper understanding of residents' perceptions and experiences related to diversity, inclusivity and belonging.

Among the concerns identified through those sessions were a lack of diversity in the police and fire departments, intolerance displayed by some community members toward different races and ethnicities, and lack of affordable housing.


Nearly 82% of the village's 74,760 residents and 92% of its employees are white. The remaining population is 10% Asian, nearly 6% Latino, 1.5% Black, and 1.7% two or more races. Village employees are roughly 3% Latino and mixed race, respectively, 1% Black and 0.5% Asian.

"One of the themes that we are going to be talking about is how do we engage on an ongoing basis with all of our residents," Recklaus said. "This is just one piece of the analysis. All of it is food for thought."

The village's diversity consultant, the Kaleidoscope Group, will use the findings as part of an audit of village policies and programs and deliver a plan with recommendations to village leaders. Currently, the consultant is conducting focus groups and a survey of village employees. Final recommendations will be released by the first quarter of 2021.

To participate in the town hall, visit Pass code: 210352.

Teen roundtable

The Elgin Police Department is urging teens ages 16-19 to air their concerns about law enforcement and connect with peers during a virtual roundtable at 4 p.m. Dec. 3 to talk about how to improve the relationship between police and youths.

Previous discussions were held in person before the pandemic hit and civil unrest sparked nationwide after the killings of Black people by police.

"This is an opportunity for us, after the changes we have seen in the world, to see what their viewpoint is," Elgin police Cmdr. Jim Bisceglie said. "Obviously, with COVID we are trying to remain engaged with our community virtually the safest way we can. We embrace and love diversity. Any teenager that is interested is welcome."

Bisceglie said the department offers youth activities, including a CSI (crime scene investigation) Academy, Explorer Program, Teen Police Academy, and projects in partnership with Gail Borden Public Library, such as decorating cookies, moviemaking and music producing.

"Those are the events that we really miss that can't be done virtually," Bisceglie said. "Right now, with everybody mostly staying at home and not going to school (in person) that social interaction is lacking for a lot of our kids. We truly hope that within the next year we will be back to in-person meetings."

Register at For questions, call (847) 289-2602.

Reflecting on 2020

A global pandemic. A recession. A nationwide racial reckoning. The 2020 census. And a contentious presidential election.

A new WTTW News special, "Making Sense of 2020," will reflect on the challenges of this year and how Chicago-area residents responded. Scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, it will include stories from the city and suburbs of residents struggling to cope, racial unrest and activism, and the drive to rebuild.

It is produced and written by Daniel Andries, a regular contributor to Chicago Tonight who produced the Emmy Award-winning documentary series "Art & Design in Chicago" and the film "Beauty Rises: Four Lives in the Arts."

As part of its coverage, the WTTW News/Chicago Tonight team launched two new weekend shows, "Latino Voices" and "Black Voices," revealing major disparities in community resources and impacts, and how residents stepped up to inspire and help each other.

• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at

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