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ICAPS celebrates students from last two years

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jul 29, 2021

The Adult Education and ESL Division at College of Lake County (CLC) held the Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System (ICAPS) Recognition Drive-Thru on July 21 to recognize and celebrate all students who have completed their ICAPS programs since 2019.

The students celebrated with family and were greeted by cheers as they received certificates and gift bags from Dr. Sonya Williams, VP of Education, and Board of Trustees Julie Shroka and Gerri Songer.

Jacqueline Merino-Ramirez and her parentsGraduation from the program can help start a big change in the students' lives, including Ariana Hurtado who completed the nurse assisting program, and is worthy of celebration.

“It was great, and it felt really good,” she said. “It’s been hard for people to celebrate during the pandemic. It was fast, but at the same time it was a great feeling.”

Photo: Jacqueline Merino-Ramirez (center), who completed the automotive collision and repair program, and her parents.

The ICAPS program is a state-wide initiative that provides opportunities for adult education students to complete a career certificate in one year or less in high demand occupations. ICAPS fosters a partnership between Adult Education and Career & Technical Education by integrating both technical training and basic skills education into the educational experience, delivering education in a team-taught environment, and culminating in educational functioning level gains and industry recognized credentials.

Hurtado, a single mother, dropped out of high school at 16 to care for her grandmother who had cancer. She has always considered herself a caring person, and ICAPS allowed her to pursue a career in nurse assisting.

The program being only eight weeks fit into Hurtado’s schedule, having to only enroll her kids in childcare for a brief period.

Esther Padilla, who graduated from the phlebotomy technician program in November 2020, thought even under the circumstances, the celebration couldn’t have been any better.

“I was excited, and I wanted to cry a lot,” Padilla said. “I was excited and grateful. It’s fantastic to have this program for all the people who want to get into a new career. The celebration was perfect to me.”

CLC currently offers ICAPS programs in 9 career pathways, including non-credit options in the Workforce Professional Development Institute.

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.