Triton College receives $1 million grant to provide career focused short-term certificate programs
River Grove, Ill. -- Triton College received a $1 million Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) grant from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) to provide tuition-free short-term certificate programs that accelerate the path to employment readiness for in demand and high-skill occupations. The grant will allow the college to enhance and strengthen its dedication to student success while supporting students' efforts to secure living-wage employment after one year or less of higher education courses.
"We are extremely pleased to be awarded additional funding to advance our commitment to educating and serving the communities within our district," said Triton College President Mary-Rita Moore. "Students will receive a high-quality education that will equip them with in demand skills and prepare them for competitive jobs. After completion, the students will be in a position to make an immediate positive impact on the local workforce and their own quality of life."
The college has selected nine short term certificate programs related to occupations in the health, technology and construction industries that can earn average wages between $19 and $41 per hour in Cook County. The targeted professions include: sterile processing technician, EKG technician, medical billing and coding specialist, optician, automotive engine repair, carpentry, plumbing, welding and A+ certification. Classes may begin as early as November 2019.
Triton was among 48 Illinois community colleges invited to apply for funds from $18.7 million earmarked by the Illinois General Assembly to support raising achievement and closing the skills gap in African-American communities in Illinois, driven by an Illinois Legislative Black Caucus initiative.
"Too many people across Illinois are being left behind when it comes to the skills needed to thrive in the modern workforce, especially in under-resourced communities, and this is why I supported policies this year that would help create a high-wage economy for Illinois," said State Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, 78th District of Chicago. "Employment that is inclusive for all, isn't just about simply having a job, it's about having a career that provides a living wage as well as addresses the unemployment rate in communities where divestment has occurred. This initiative creates an educational opportunity for a middle-class life and dignity for one's labor."
As one of the of 15 grant awardees Triton will use the WEI grant funds to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies related to the nine specific short-term certificate programs for qualified students from the following communities: Bellwood, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Oak Park, Rosemont and Stone Park. Financial support for transportation and childcare will also be available in some instances.
Throughout the program, students will meet regularly with assigned advisors who will provide individualized support. This includes the development and implementation of an individualized academic plan (IAP) for each student, study sessions and tutoring services. Additionally, Triton's Career Services Department will engage students with career preparation workshops and aid them in applying for jobs and securing interviews.
"From choosing which certificate program is right for them to providing academic support and ultimately helping them secure employment, we look forward to helping students every step of the way," said Paul Jensen, Triton College associate vice president of Academic Innovations & Workforce Education. "This grant affords us the opportunity to provide a level of support that will significantly increase opportunities for students to achieve academic and professional success," Jensen said.
Residents, current and prospective students, employers or community leaders interested in learning more about how the Workforce Equity Initiative grant can help provide access to education opportunities intended to improve employment readiness and increase the size of the local skilled workforce are encouraged to contact 708-456-0300 ext. 3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Students enrolled in the Workforce Equity Initiative program at Triton College will choose to earn one of nine different specified certificates in the college's Career Programs or the Center for Health Care Professionals.
Certificate programs in the Career Programs
Designed to prepare students for an entry-level PC Technical Support role. The courses parallel CompTIA's A+ exam objectives.
Job responsibilities include: Understand, install and configure computer hardware and software. Provide customer service and end-user support. Communicate effectively with clients both verbally and in writing, problem solve and work effectively in teams.
Industry growth and average expected wage: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for IT Technical support specialists to grow 10 percent between 2018 and 2028. The average hourly wage in Cook County for IT Technical Support Specialists with an A+ Certificate is about $33 per hour depending on the responsibilities of the role and the employer.
Automotive Engine Repair Certificate
Designed to provide students with skills for entry-level employment at an automotive engine repair facility.
Job responsibilities include: Repair, maintain, and perform routine inspections of engines.
Industry growth and average expected wage: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is projected to remain steady from 2018 to 2028. Entry level automotive technicians earn about $24 per hour in Cook County.
Designed to provide students with entry-level construction skills and prepare them to work as an entry-level, or apprentice carpenter, in residential settings.
Job responsibilities include: Build the rough framework of a residential project, apply finish materials to the rough framework, utilize appropriate forms in the construction, permit application and payout processes. Identify safety hazards on construction sites; navigate modern codes to address project requirements.
Industry growth and average expected wage: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics employment of carpenters is expected to grow 8 percent between 2018 and 2028. An entry level, or apprentice, carpenter can earn about $37 per hour in Cook County.
Designed to provide students with basic construction skills and prepare them for entry-level plumbing positions in residential settings. The program prepares students for employment as entry-level plumbers, septic tank services and sewer pipe cleaners.
Job responsibilities include: Install and repair rough-in plumbing work, install and repair finished plumbing work; identify safety hazards on construction sites; navigate modern codes to address project requirements.
Industry growth and average expected wage: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics employment of plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters is projected to grow 14 percent between 2018 and 2028. An entry level, or apprentice, plumber can earn about $41 per hour in Cook County.
Designed to provide students with welding skills for a shop setting. Students will be taught welding processes, such as ARC, Metal Inert Gas and Tungsten Gas welding.
Job Responsibilities include: Welders use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join, repair or cut metal parts. Depending on the employer's industry welders may work indoors or outdoors, lift objects or work in tight spaces.
Industry growth and average expected wage: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics employment of welders is projected to grow 3 percent between 2018 and 2028. An entry level, or apprentice welder can earn about $21 per hour.
Sterile Processing Technician Certificate
Designed to prepare students to work in the sterile processing department of a hospital, surgical center, birth center and other medical facilities.
Job responsibilities include: Sterilizing, cleaning, decontaminating, inspecting, storing medical devices needed to provide patient care and surgical procedures.
Industry Growth and average expected wage: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for sterile processing technician will increase by approximately 14.5 percent between 2018 and 2024. The average wage is about $22 per hour in Cook County.
Certificate programs in the Center for Health Care Professionals
Designed to prepare students to work in physicians' offices, hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities and organizations. EKG Technicians also work for insurance companies to establish health and life insurance policies.
Job responsibilities include: Performing electrocardiogram tests to monitor and record electrical impulses transmitted by the heart. Assist physicians in diagnosing and treating cardiac and blood vessel irregularities.
Industry Growth and average expected wage: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment growth at about 14 percent between 2018 and 2024. The average wage for an EKG Technician in Cook County is about $31 per hour.
Medical Billing and Coding
Designed for health care professionals, billing professionals, and students interested in the business aspect of health care and office management. Prepares students for entry-level medical office positions.
Job responsibilities include: Use classification software to assign clinical codes for insurance reimbursement and data analysis; organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries; review patients' records for accuracy and appropriateness of data.
Industry growth and average expected wage: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment growth for medical records and health information technicians at about 11 percent between 2018 and 2024. The average salary for a medical biller in Cook County is about $19 to $20 per hour.
Designed to prepare students to help customers get fitted for eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists.
Responsibilities: Assist customers in choosing eyeglass frames and lens treatments, repair or replace broken eyeglass frames; educate customers about eyewear.
Industry Growth and average expected wage: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment growth for opticians at about 10 percent between 2018 and 2028. The average wage for an optician in Cook County is about $19 per hour.