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College of Lake County receives $80K grant for healthcare and social services student scholarships

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jun 24, 2021

The Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County (HFNLC) recently awarded College of Lake County (CLC) another $80,000 in scholarships for students studying healthcare and, for the first time, alcohol and drug counseling.

The funds show a recommitment to Scholarships Promoting Lake County Affordable and Sustainable Healthcare (SPLASH) for students in the Biological and Health Sciences Division, making it possible for scholarship recipients to work less and study more while in school. An additional $15,000 was granted to the human services program to increase educational opportunities for alcohol and drug counselors, especially those who are bilingual and in high demand.

These scholarships, called Collegiate Lancer Endowment for Addiction and Recovery (CLEAR), will be available to students this fall.  

“The college’s certified alcohol and drug counseling program is the fastest and most affordable route to becoming a counselor in Illinois,” said human services chair and instructor Mick Cullen. “Our exceptional program takes two years to complete, whereas other counseling programs require a six-year degree.”  

Cullen says a lot of people who’ve been in counseling themselves or simply want to give back to the community with their professional careers start the program knowing they want to become a substance abuse counselor. This scholarship seed money will help nearly 20 students from targeted communities in northern Lake County pursue their certification without any costs this fall.  

“Our students earned an 86 percent pass rate on the Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor (CADC) certification, exceeding state standards,” said Cullen. “CLC does an excellent job of preparing our students for the CADC exam because our human services professors have extensive history working in this field, many continue to be active clinicians today and their experience enables them to give our students the knowledge and skills they need to ace that certification test.” 

Besides for the fact that addiction counselors in Lake County earn an above-average salary compared to other parts of the country, the need for local substance abuse counselors is continuously increasing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 25 percent increase in need for substance abuse counselors by 2029, with job growth in this field already having increased steadily over the last five years. 

While living in Deerfield, Martin Clancy graduated from CLC and passed his CADC in 2015. He found everything asked on the exam was covered in his classes and he quickly landed a counseling position with the Lake County Health Department.   

“I’m passionate about helping my community,” Clancy said. “CLC’s expert faculty taught me what I needed to learn to be a valuable CADC. We have an ever growing need for CADCs here in Lake County.”  

Substance abuse counselors in Illinois are certified by the Illinois Certification Board who is part of the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association. Students can study human services completely online in a flexible format and earn their Illinois CADC certification. In-person classes are also available. 

This is the sixth time HFNLC funded student scholarships at CLC in the last eight years. Because program management is done on a volunteer basis, there is zero administration cost. 100 percent of the funds are given to students from underrepresented backgrounds who have a strong academic record and demonstrate financial need. 

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.