SIC Celebrates CTE Month with Open House to Showcase New Virtual Reality Training for Nurses Feb. 23
February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and Illinois community colleges across the state are celebrating their valuable role in preparing the workforce for in-demand jobs. CTE programs offered at community colleges provide students with hands-on training and real-world experience in a variety of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and technology.
Southeastern Illinois College has been training nurses since even before the college was founded in 1960. Since that time, many vocational programs have arisen based on the needs of the communities served and available jobs. Currently, the college offers the following on its list of CTE programs: Associate Degree Nursing, Certified Nursing Assistant, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Diesel Technology, Information Technology, Practical Nursing, Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Wildlife Management, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy, Powersports Technology, Veterinary Assistant, and Welding.
“People are calling us all the time for skilled workers in some of these CTE areas,” said Ralph Boots, Applied Technology Division Chair and instructor for powersports and diesel tech classes. “They are always looking for newly trained and qualified technicians and welders. Jobs are out there.”
SIC has also instituted a new CTE Afternoon Academy for high school students to learn basics in welding and diesel, and under construction in Carmi is the new Stanford D. Williams Career and Training Center.
In the new center, SIC will be offering classes that include CDL, welding, auto, diesel, and industrial maintenance programs, such as basic plumbing, carpentry, and programmable logic control (PLC’s), as well as the possibility of introducing electric vehicle training. This programming is led largely by the needs of area businesses. SIC hopes to begin offering classes there in Fall 2023, if construction stays on schedule.
To celebrate CTE month and the achievements and accomplishments of its successful programs, SIC will be hosting an open house showcasing the newly purchased Virtual Reality simulator education equipment for the nursing program. The event is open to all students and the community and will take place February 23 between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. in room T230 in come-and-go fashion. Refreshments will be served.
“We are excited to share our new learning systems and equipment,” said Amy Murphy, SIC Director of Nursing.
The nursing shortage is acute with approximately 203,200 new job openings per year. Community college education plays a vital role in addressing the shortage since most graduates remain in their respective communities. According to Murphy, 100% of SIC’s graduates find employment within weeks of graduation.
According to the National Skills Coalition nearly two-thirds of jobs in the U.S. economy are middle-skill jobs that require education beyond high school but not a four-year college degree. Many of these jobs are in CTE fields such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and IT which are among the fastest-growing occupations projected through 2029 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
CTE programs at Illinois community colleges offer a cost-effective way for individuals to pursue their career goals by costing a fraction of the tuition at four-year institutions, making it a more accessible option for many students.
“Illinois community colleges have a long history of working with local businesses and industries to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s workforce,” said Brian Durham, Executive Director of the Illinois Community College Board. “CTE programs at community colleges are an essential part of our state’s workforce development strategy, and we are proud to be a part of preparing the next generation of workers.”
Statewide, nearly 36,000 students graduated from the more than 4,600 approved CTE certificate and degree programs offered by Illinois Community Colleges in 2022.
For more information about CTE programs offered at SIC, please visit sic.edu/cte.