Parkland Counseling Services busier than ever over past year

Parkland Counseling Services busier than ever over past year

CHAMPAIGN — The dean responsible for counseling services at Parkland College said last year, her staff helped more students pursue careers than ever before.

On Wednesday night, Dean Ellen Zimmerman spoke to the Parkland College Board of Trustees about the success of her department.

Zimmerman said that, this past year, Parkland Counseling Services served 1,339 students, an increase of 204 over the previous high — 1,135 — set a year ago.

Counseling Services tries to connect student interests to majors at the college and, later, connects those majors to careers.

When students come to Parkland, Zimmerman's staff helps them to complete assessments to help determine their career interests, assists with the production of resumes and cover letters, and participates in mock interviews to get the students ready for the working world.

"Careers have changed," Zimmerman said. "The paradigm is no longer working for one company our whole career. The paradigm for our students today is one in which they work for different companies during a career, not long-term employment."

Counseling Services also connects with employers through job postings, employer visits to campus as they have hiring needs, and referrals of employer inquiries to the appropriate departments on campus.

Zimmerman said her department hopes, in the future, to better integrate its work with Parkland classrooms.

In other business:

The board voted 7-0 with one abstention to approve three-year collective-bargaining agreements with three of the college's labor organizations.

Members of the Parkland College Professional Support Staff (170 people), the Parkland Public Safety Officers Association (12 people) and the Parkland College Part-Time Faculty Organization (160 people) will each get minimum 2.75 percent pay increases to their base salaries.

Any further additions to base salaries would be equal to those agreed upon by the full-time faculty agreement approved last month.

The board voted 8-0 to buy maintenance services for the Parkland College Institute of Aviation from Flightstar of Savoy for $200,000.

Trustees voted 8-0 to purchase safety training for the college's tractor-trailer training program from Evanston-based Rock Gate Capital Driving Academy for $400,000.

The Harold and Jean Minor Theatre will be getting improvements. The board voted 8-0 to award a $201,970 bid to Commercial Builders of Champaign to reconstruct the theater's walkway ramps to provide for increased safety.

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