Illinois Community Colleges Boost Local Economies and Are Important Sources of Employment

Springfield, Illinois- (Effingham Radio) – Illinois 48 community colleges boost local Illinois economies and are important sources of income and jobs for the communities and regions they serve, according to a new report released by Illinois Community College Board.

The study is a valuable assessment tool for the Illinois community college system (the third largest in the country) as it continues to strive to increase value and access for all Illinoisians.

“Here in Illinois, our community colleges are a critical part of ensuring our state’s workforce is well equipped for the jobs of the future,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These investments in community colleges are a microcosm of what we do statewide, where we are committed to creating and sustaining well-paying jobs and energizing our next generation of leaders.”

“It’s clear that community colleges remain a solid return on investment for local communities and the students who use them. Our system plays a vital role in meeting the needs of the Illinois workforce by providing quality training and education, and gives students a better opportunity to earn higher wages in countless industries across state, ”said ICCB Executive Director Dr Brian Durham.

It assesses the Illinois community college system based on its ability to meet the needs of business and industry, equity, student outcomes, student return on investment, and economic impact. overall system on local economies and job growth. The report also examines trends statewide, including changes in employment, population, race and ethnicity, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Community colleges remain a valuable resource for students of all walks of life. We are committed to creating a fair path to economic mobility no matter who you are or where you live through the Illinois community college system, ”said Dr. Lazaro Lopez, chairman of the board of directors of the Illinois. ICCB.

The study found that more than 84 percent of students who earn a long-term certificate or associate’s degree in applied science programs hold high-paying career jobs within one year of graduation. .

Investing in a long-term certificate or associate’s degree in applied science from an Illinois community college generates an average annual rate of return of almost 27%, with an average salary increase of almost 40% a year after graduation.

Annual earnings are even higher in some fields of study. For students graduating from long-term certificate programs in architecture and construction, the average annual income five years after graduation is $ 60,552, while graduates of the manufacturing program earn $ 54,378 over the course of from the same period.

“Community colleges are an integral part of building a skilled workforce, which is critical to the success of the manufacturing sector in Illinois and the United States. These great institutions provide students with educational opportunities that include both technical training and soft interpersonal skills to ensure that manufacturers have a competitive and modern workforce, ”said Mark Denzler, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

“We are very proud that Governor Pritzker recently adopted the IMA Education Foundation’s initiative to establish two manufacturing academies on the campuses of Illinois community colleges, which will further strengthen the long-standing partnership between the manufacturers and community colleges while providing students with skilled vocational training. “

The study also looked at the impact of Illinois community colleges on local economies.

In fiscal 2020, Illinois community colleges directly employed nearly 33,000 employees for a total payroll of $ 1.3 billion. In addition to salaries and wages, Illinois community colleges account for nearly $ 500 million in additional spending.

“An investment in community college education benefits all stakeholders: students, taxpayers, businesses and society as a whole. Illinois Community Colleges make the benefits of higher education available to everyone, ”said Jim Reed, executive director of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.

These direct impacts trickle down to the economy, creating additional jobs, wages, and other economic activity in Illinois. The total economic output of Illinois community colleges on the state economy in FY2020 is estimated to be $ 3.5 billion and 43,316 jobs.

“Finding employees with the right skills in the workforce remains a major challenge for employers in Illinois. Our economic future depends on it. Community colleges provide these skills to thousands of Illinois, enabling them to build careers and help employers thrive, ”said Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

The Illinois Community College System and ICCB are committed to equitably creating, supporting and expanding workforce training opportunities in communities that need it most. In 2019, Illinois launched the Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) program, a grant program designed to increase workforce opportunities for African Americans, who are severely under-represented among educational programs. professional and technical (CTE). Over the past two years, the WEI program has provided nearly $ 40 million to address education and unemployment gaps in African American and other minority communities in Illinois.

“The state’s 39 community college districts serve an extremely diverse student body, and our colleges’ commitment to equity is demonstrated in undergraduate enrollment data which shows we are serving more minority students under -represented as all other higher education institutions in Illinois combined. We are proud to be the colleges of our communities, and the data in this report illustrates our continued investment in our communities and the residents we serve, ”said Dr. Josh Bullock, Chair of the Council of Presidents of the Community Colleges of the ‘Illinois and president of Lake Land College.

When examining earnings one year before completion versus three years after completion, African American student earnings increased 47% while Latinx students increased their earnings by 57%.

To view the full study, please visit

About the Illinois Community College Board of Trustees

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) is the state’s coordinating organization for the Illinois community college system – the third largest in the country and the primary public trainer in workforce development of State. The ICCB has legal responsibility for administering state and federal grants to community college districts and adult education providers and for administering high school equivalency tests for Illinois. Illinois Community Colleges serve more than 600,000 residents annually through credit, non-credit, and continuing education courses. Illinois is home to 48 colleges in 39 community college districts that provide high-quality, accessible, and cost-effective educational opportunities statewide.

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