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Illinois Central College Launches New Equity Initiative: ICC GEER Project

Illinois Central College announces the launch of a new equity initiative program, ICC GEER Project, with funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, and through efforts championed by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), Senator Dave Koehler and the Peoria Mayor’s Coalition on Racial Justice and Equity. The $412,000 grant will be used to support efforts to enroll and retain underrepresented, first-generation and low-income students that may not otherwise enroll in or return to college due to the pandemic or digital equity gaps.

The project provides funding for the following: outreach and recruitment, college and career guidance and advisement, assessment and testing, tuition assistance, assistance with prior tuition debt, technology needs and support, case management and mentoring, tutoring and technological aides, safe spaces to study and job placement into careers with family-sustaining wages.

“This project is another example of how Illinois Central College works collaboratively within our community to benefit those who need us most. It allows us the opportunity to remove barriers for firstgeneration college students as we move them into careers paying at least 30 percent above the living wage,” said ICC President Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey. “When underrepresented, first-generation or lowincome adults earn credentials with labor market value, it not only changes the trajectory of their lives, but also the lives of their families; while growing the workforce, expanding businesses and creating a more vibrant regional economy.”

Tri-County Urban League President Laraine Bryson said, “Our mission at the Tri-County Urban League is to advance the regional economy and quality of life by promoting education and improving employability skills, self-sufficiency, and social well-being of African Americans and people in need. Collaborating with ICC to provide more than 100 low-income adults a credential significantly serves both of our missions well.”

ICC Vice President of Workforce and Diversity Dr. Rita Ali said, “ICC will mobilize quickly and demonstrate to our community that we are here to support them in earning a workforce credential to be represented in high-demand, higher-wage careers. This is a collective effort with community partners that will greatly benefit all involved.”

This community collaboration engages numerous college departments and a host of local partners. Over the next four weeks, ICC staff will work with community-based and religious organizations, schools, neighborhood associations and employers to identify potential students who may qualify for and benefit from the program. Local employers will be asked to provide support and jobs to second-year students who complete the program.

For more information, to apply to the program or to refer a student, please contact ICC Diversity Consultant Janice Parker at [email protected] or (309) 694-8940. Visit icc.edu/geer for additional information.