July 25, 2019

July 2019 Letter to the Editor from Dr. Laurie Borowicz

Community college is good for local businesses

Community colleges provide many learning opportunities in the local communities focused on workforce training. Kish continues to create innovative ways to support local business through relevant training, programming and services.

Last December, we launched Sycamore U, a partnership with the City of Sycamore aimed at developing leadership skills for their employees. City employees can take classes in Sycamore, on a schedule that fits their work hours, to learn the fundamentals of business, software application, workplace communication and supervisory skills. Participants earn a certificate following completion.

A number of businesses have seen the value of investing in their employees through partnerships with Kish. An example is a program with Rochelle Foods.  Employees can take classes towards an Automated Industrial Technology certificate on campus. Their supervisors adjust the work schedule and employees train on the job with maintenance techs and learn different departments. Once completing the program, employees are eligible for job advancements and raises.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, 62 Kish students participated in the “earn while you learn” program as interns at local businesses such as 3-D Automotive, Alexander Lumber, Brad Manning Ford, Cresswood Shredding Machinery, DeKalb Implement, DeKalb Park District, DeKalb Motors, Hormel Foods, HyVee Floral, Lowe's, Merlin Muffler, Nenni and Associates, R-Equipment, Rochelle Municipal Utilities, Rochelle Truck Center, Schnucks Floral, Superior Diesel and Walt Ltd. 

Launching this fall is a Hospitality & Culinary program. The program developed out of conversations with local restaurants expressing a need to hire staff with the fundamental skills to work on a team in a kitchen environment. Our new Medical Assisting program has a similar story—it sprung out of a need expressed by local healthcare facilities to hire people skilled in both clinical and administrative responsibilities. Kish will soon begin to educate and train people to fulfill this needed role in healthcare.

Kishwaukee College has been and will continue to be responsive to local needs. Serving on the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) Executive Committee and the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation (GREDCO) Board provides an opportunity for me to hear about workforce needs and how the College can work to support and grow local businesses. 

Fifty-two percent of the College occupational graduates from 2018 work within the Kish District and 96 percent of occupational graduates work within the State of Illinois. We prepare people in a wide range of occupations and many of them stay to contribute to the local economies. We are committed to helping our students meet their occupational goals, our businesses to meet their workforce needs, and we are proud of how our work supports our local communities.

Dr. Laurie Borowicz
President, Kishwaukee College