Richland Community College, in partnership with Decatur Public Schools, was recently awarded a $240,000 Career and Technical Education (CTE) grant from the Illinois State Board of Education for its CTE Education Career Pathway program.
The Education Career Pathway is aimed at providing students with learning experiences and knowledge that prepare them to consider educator preparation programs at postsecondary institutions prior high school graduation.
Richland Community College will work in partnership with Decatur Pubic School District 61 to support the formalization of a high school program that works to encourage students to consider seeking careers in the education profession and return to our community as fully certified educators. This is an extension of the Richland Paraprofessional Program that has been implemented through the Workforce Equity Grant and EnRich Program at Richland.
According to Dr. Juanita Morris, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning at Richland, “The goal of this grant is to create an avenue to recruit students into the field of education, thus addressing the teacher shortage not only in Illinois, but also in Decatur Public Schools.”
“This partnership with Decatur Public Schools doesn’t just benefit the schools, the teachers, the students, and their families, but also benefits the broader community and society. In today’s innovative, courageously creative and changing economy, pathways opportunities provide students with the vision, experiences, and skills they desire and need to be successful in life. Students are also more engaged in their studies if it’s connected to things they might do or want to do in their career,” said Rev. Courtney Carson, Richland’s Executive Director of External Affairs.
Ashley Grayned, Executive Director of Innovative Programs and Strategic Planning for Decatur Public Schools, is excited about this opportunity, “Decatur Public Schools is looking forward to building this program pathway with Richland as just another extension of a great partnership. It is vital to create a program that encourages education and focuses on recruitment and retention, continuing those life experiences and connections within our community. This grant will support the District’s Strategic Plan, which was already focused upon an exploratory teaching program. We are looking forward to helping our students jumpstart their futures in education.”
The Illinois State Board of Education developed this grant as a commitment to providing students with a well-rounded and relevant education that includes equitable opportunities to participate in career and technical education (CTE). CTE programs prepare students for both the workforce and the pursuit of postsecondary opportunities by offering students opportunities to develop technical and employability skills while also strengthening core academic skills and abilities. CTE programs are expanding nationwide and realigning programs of study to include pathways that respond to current and future economic and occupational needs.