Success Starts Here: Community College Month Highlights Opportunities

April 11, 2024

Illinois Central College (ICC) is joining community colleges across the country this April in celebrating Community College Month, a grassroots education campaign coordinated by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) to improve awareness of the economic, academic, and equity advantages of attending community colleges.

This year’s theme is Cultivating Skills for the Future.

“Community College Month is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the impact and value of ICC to our Central Illinois community”, shared Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey, ICC President. “Our students are earning the credentials that change their lives and prepare them for further credentials and a career. When our regional community members earn these credentials, it not only changes the trajectory of their lives, but also that of their families. Additionally, increasing the number of credentialed adults in our region expands our local workforce, strengthens our regional employers and increases the economic vibrancy and resiliency of our regional economy.”

ICC and our fellow community colleges are equity, career, and economic engines that positively impact our community members and communities. We are honored and humbled to play this role in Central Illinois.

Dr. Shelia Quirk-Bailey, ICC President

Public community colleges are uniquely American, educational models designed to guarantee access to affordable, high-quality higher education for all people. They serve as an on-ramp to higher-level degrees for many students, particularly for the most demographically and socioeconomically diverse students. They guarantee fair admissions and offer support for adult students working to support their families. Without community colleges, many American students would not be able to access higher education at all.

In short, community colleges were created to serve the needs of their communities, and they do it exceptionally well.

“The new-and-future economy is a skills-based economy,” said ACCT President and CEO Jee Hang Lee. “The nation’s community colleges specialize in providing practical education and skills that students can use to advance themselves in a competitive economy. They give opportunities to all students, and they support all students throughout their educations, whether they attend to attain an associate degree or certificate, intend to transfer on for a bachelor’s or higher degree, or take one or a few courses to learn a new skill or expand their horizons.”

ICC is a national leader in this arena as evidenced by being one of only two community colleges funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Good Job Challenge program which allows ICC and its partners to certify 1,000 regional adults in IT credentials at no cost.