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Partnership with Visit Lake County creates new hospitality and culinary management scholarship

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Sep 27, 2022

College of Lake County (CLC) and Visit Lake County both serve Lake County’s residents and workforce. Although a longstanding relationship exists, CLC’s Community and Workforce Partnerships (CWP) unit has been working with Visit Lake County to identify initiatives to optimize outcomes by working together.

Culinary student in the kitchenTo help achieve the goal of revitalizing the hospitality workforce, Visit Lake County worked with the CLC Foundation to launch a new scholarship for students in the hospitality and culinary management program.

“Visit Lake County is pleased to form a year-round, ongoing partnership with College of Lake County,” said Visit Lake County President Maureen Riedy. “We’ve always collaborated to publicize events, performances and facilities at CLC, however, to address today’s shifting workforce challenges, we want to elevate recognition of the crucial role of the hospitality industry.”

With an initial three-year commitment, this scholarship will award students $2,500 per year and assist in progressing the talent pipeline for the hospitality sector. The first two recipients were awarded scholarships this fall semester.

Through the scholarship, Visit Lake County is not only investing in the local hospitality workforce, but also in CLC students searching for their path and building their future. Hospitality is a multi-faceted industry that offers a wide array of options for job roles and career progression.

“Lake County restaurants, hotels and attractions all offer great opportunities, and CLC programs can prepare them to accelerate career paths into hospitality management, food service, event services or any public-facing role,” Riedy said. “CLC can be a great feeder-system for staffing our local world-class destinations.”

To shine a light on the promising possibilities for those pursuing a culinary career, CLC Culinary Instructor Chef William Vena shares the following sentiment with all his students: “You are not just receiving a quality education and degree in a career program, you are learning a life skill that you can go out and use anywhere in the world for the rest of your life. Everybody, anywhere you go loves to eat.”

On Sept. 8, several CLC representatives joined Visit Lake County in “celebrating the spirit of Lake County” at their annual event. Visit Lake County announced the expanded CLC partnership at the event and welcomed CWP Vice President Dr. Ali O’Brien as a featured speaker to share details about the increased partnership efforts, the new hospitality scholarship and the future plans for CLC’s student-run restaurant at the Brae Loch Golf Club.

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 in 2019 and is a national leader in many areas, including campus internationalization, sustainability and conservation.