RVC Awarded 1.28 Million To Help Close Education And Employment Gaps

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) has granted $1.28 million to Rock Valley College (RVC) to help address education and unemployment gaps for African American and other minority communities. The funding will be used under Illinois' Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) and the Innovative Bridge and Transition Grant Program (IBT), which helps low-income individuals remove barriers to completing their education and advancing their career goals.

"We are honored to receive this funding and to continue this work. Participants in these initiatives will be provided short-term educational opportunities that will lead to employment, specifically in high-demand areas such as manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare," said Dr. Amanda Smith, Chief Academic Officer at RVC.

With the support of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, Illinois' Workforce Equity Initiative has helped participating colleges develop or enhance training and career pathway programs in high-demand employment sectors. The development of the WEI Consortium was created to address an Illinois Community College Board report which found that minorities, particularly African Americans, were severely underrepresented among Career and Technical Education (CTE) program graduates.

RVC-WEI was awarded $1.2 million to offer an accelerated program that provides work-based learning opportunities in CNC operations, cold forming, industrial welding, mechatronics, truck driver training, dental assisting, and medical billing and coding.

In addition to its training opportunities, RVC-WEI supports students with transportation, food vouchers, work attire, technology equipment, childcare, and more.

RVC is also the recipient of $80,000 in grant funding to support Innovative Bridge and Transition (IBT) programs and initiatives that assist students' seamless transition between education systems and into employment.

IBT initiatives improve student transitions to and through postsecondary education and into employment, support transitions for individuals with disabilities, and offer programs that promote equity and diversity among those served.

Specifically, the IBT grant funds will help RVC provide summer pathways in manufacturing, mechatronics, engineering, and health sciences. Students will take classes in their desired area, tour industry locations, participate in mock interviews, and receive student support in areas such as financial aid, academic and transfer advising, and disability support services.

"This grant will allow us to create programming to provide comprehensive support to students as they earn college credit. RVC will provide wrap-around services during a critical point in the student's transition from high school to college or career," said Gina Caronna, RVC's Associate Vice President of Early College and Technical Programs.

Learn more about Rock Valley College's program offerings at www.rockvalleycollege.edu.