Skip to content

Kaskaskia College receives continued funding for Workforce Equity Initiative

Kaskaskia College will continue its successful Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) grant program to expand training opportunities for underrepresented populations.

The college was notified that its third-year continuation plan was approved by the state, and KC will receive the total requested amount of $599,536.60.

Since its implementation in 2020, one hundred students have utilized the WEI grant at KC, with 39 completing a certificate and entering the workforce with average salaries ranging between $19 and $22 an hour.

Other grant recipients have chosen to continue their education, while 45 others in the program are enrolled and are not yet eligible to be counted as completers.

The WEI Grant initiative, led by ICCB and Kaskaskia College, focuses on improving workforce inclusivity by providing a credential and a living-wage job for adults of poverty residing in disproportionately impacted areas (low income, low employment, high crime). African American participants represent a minimum of 60 percent of the population served by the grant due to their underrepresentation in high-demand, high-wage careers. The end goal is for participating students to secure full-time employment in a job paying at least 30 percent above the regional living wage.

KC President George Evans shared delight with the grant’s impact on students’ lives within KC’s district. “I’m very pleased with the progress the college has made with the WEI Grant,” said Evans. “In today’s tumultuous times, the grant focuses on the barriers and hindrances that prevent many of our minority and underserved populations from completing their education or simply gaining a skill set to enhance their quality of life. It is refreshing and eye-opening to see what happens if the resources and support are available to remove those barriers, so all the individual has to do is focus on completing their job training or education. I anticipate more positive news coming from this grant and I’m very thankful for all those who have put in a ton of work and are executing this initiative.”

The WEI model is proving to be a successful methodology for achieving outstanding enrollment, completion, and employment for African Americans and all participants of poverty, outperforming Illinois and national performance data.

Comparative Outcomes: Nationally, of students who start college at a community college, 41 percent of students have earned a postsecondary credential in 6 years. The comparable rate for African Americans is 29 percent (AACC, July 2020). WEI students have a 60 percent completion rate (31 points higher) achieved in one year.

With enrollment underway for the spring semester at KC, funding is available to assist students wishing to enroll in the truck driver training, certified nurse assistant (CNA), and emergency medical technician (EMT) programs. A coach/advisor is on hand to provide wrap-around services to students in the program, such as advising and registration, job placement, retention, and employability skills training.

For local information on the WEI at Kaskaskia College, visit kaskaskia.edu/academics/workforce-equity-initiative, or contact Charlee George, WEI Coach/Academic Advisor, at (618) 545-3132.

Leave a Comment