Parkland, DACC

Parkland, DACC

By The News-Gazette

Both Danville Area Community College and Parkland College saw record enrollments in the 2009-10 academic year, and officials aren’t surprised.

They said when the economy is down and unemployment is high, people look to further their education, train for a new career or brush up on their skills. And many of them turn to community colleges — which offer a wide range of educational opportunities including more transfer programs, expanded corporate and community education, business and industry training, dual-credit programs for high school students and other educational and extracurricular opportunities — as a high-quality yet affordable and convenient alternative to a four-year college or university.

And, they added, community colleges are able to adapt to changes in the local economy, and can develop programs, curriculums and services to satisfy the needs of area residents, as well as businesses and industry.

For example, when veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan began returning home from service, DACC applied for grant funding and established the Veterans Multipurpose Employment Center. It provides veterans of all ages with help accessing education, job training  and support services, such as counseling, health care and mentoring, as well as assist them in overcoming obstacles that may hamper the job search or gaining employment.

And both institutions received a federal Energy Sector Partnership grant administered through the state to help workers prepare for new green sector job opportunities. DACC received $440,000, and Parkland received a $375,000.

Here’s a brief profile of each:

DACC

Founded: 1946
District: Parts of Vermilion, Edgar, Iroquois, Champaign and Ford counties
Residency: Must be established 30 days before the start of classes
Tuition: Courses are available to all in-district residents at a tuition rate of $89 per credit hour plus a $12 technology and activity fee
Mission: Danville Area Community College is committed to providing quality, innovative and accessible learning experiences, which meet the life-long academic, cultural and economic needs of our diverse communities and the world we share.

New programs:

— Launched a wind energy technician associate degree program, preparing students for a high-tech career in one of the fastest-growing segments of the energy industry-wind energy.
The new program, which requires no prerequisites and can be completed in four semesters, teaches students how to inspect, maintain and reinstall equipment; analyze data and troubleshoot; and monitor the surrounding area.
— Partnered with the Danville National Electrical Contractors Association-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee partnered to offer a new college certificate program in the construction field — electrical inside wireman. Designed for those who are accepted into the National Electrical Contractors Association-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Apprenticeship School, it prepares them to install the power, lighting, controls and other electrical equipment in commercial and industrial buildings.
The college hopes to develop an associate degree program at a later date.
— Expanded the culinary arts program to a 30-credit-hour certificate program. It focuses on basic food preparation and production skills, nutrition, and food safety and sanitation, and prepares students for various entry-level positions in the food service industry.
— Now offers a basic and advanced auto technology certificate programs and an automotive collision repair technician associate degree program.
— Now offers a small business ownership certificate program thought the college’s Small Business Development Center.
— Launched the Middle College program, aimed at helping more high school students earn their diploma. In the program, students earn both high school and college credit with all of their classes.

Parkland

Founded: 1966
District: Parts of Champaign, Piatt, DeWitt, Iroquois, McLean, Livingston, Ford, Vermilion, Douglas, Edgar, Coles, and Moultrie counties
Residency: Must be established 30 days before the start of classes
Tuition: Courses are available to all in-district residents a tuition rate of $102 per credit hour.
Mission: Parkland College is a comprehensive community college in Illinois dedicated to providing programs and services of high quality to its students and committed to continuous improvements, to academic achievement and its documentation, and to the concept of shared governance.

New programs:

— The Business and Agri-Industries program now offers an Entrepreneurship Certificate. This 30-32 credit hour program is designed to strengthen the general business skills of present and aspiring business managers or owners especially those who manage a small business.
— The Business Training program is offering intensive LEED green associate exam preparation. Contractors and subcontractors, architects, facility managers, building owners, city officials, and community members who want to become LEED-accredited and sustainability-oriented will discover how to successfully take the LEED AP exam and achieve highest understanding of the current LEED green building requirements and processes.
— The Graphic Design program has negotiated a new “two-plus-two” agreement with Illinois State University. Students who wish to earn a bachelor of arts degree in graphic design can come to Parkland for their freshman and sophomore years and enroll in the Graphic Design Associate in Arts program. Upon completion of the degree, student can transfer to ISU as a junior and finish their bachelor’s of arts degree in just two more years.

All the classes in Parkland’s AA Graphic Design degree will transfer to ISU and will be credited toward the BA degree.

Other recent highlights include:

— Construction began on a 17,000 square foot addition to the Diesel Technology section of the Tony Noel Agricultural Applications Center. It is expected to be complete by August 2010.
— The college’s Sustainable Campus Committee hosted a campuswide Earth Week with daily activities including a trash cleanup, screening of the movie Food, Inc., a student contest for innovative sustainability ideas, and ending with a Battle of the Bands concert hosted by Parkland radio station WPCD.
— Started a new speech and debate team and won the Illinois State Two-year College debate title.

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