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CLC celebrates Career and Technical Education month this February

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 01, 2023

College of Lake County (CLC) is celebrating career and technical education (CTE) and the advancements the college made last year during CTE month this February. CTE programs put students directly into high-skill, high-demand and high-wage occupations in the workplace following program completion.

Students working in the Advanced Technology Center“CTE programs provide students the resources they need to gain the skills that high-demand industries are looking for,” said Acting Dean of Engineering, Math and Physical Sciences Division Miguel Mireles. “Providing the hands-on education students need that leads to a family sustaining career is one of our main goals here at CLC.”

CLC offers a wide variety of CTE programs to fit many interests, and the list continues to grow.

The highlight of 2022 came with the opening of the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in October. 70,000 square feet of the building is in use today, including a 27,000 square-foot welding and fabrication lab and 12,000 square-foot industrial technology lab space, plus a hydraulic and metallurgy lab with a total of $5.5 million worth of equipment.

“The ATC reflects what one would find today in a modern, high-tech manufacturing environment with lots of light, glass, space and clean areas, while providing the industry relevant equipment needed today for hands-on training,” said ATC Director Jon Hardbarger.

Welding and fabrication and industrial technology were the first classes held in the space. The ATC grand opening event featured a nontraditional ribbon cutting ceremony with President Dr. Lori Suddick, welding instructor Karsten Illg and welding student Kyle Thorne. They sliced through a fabricated metal ribbon using a welding torch.

The ATC was recently featured in a case study published by CDW about the ways partnerships propelled the project. The ATC is strategically aligned to build workforce pipelines for the local manufacturing industry. Stackable credentials in short-term programs help students get the training they need to find successful jobs with life-sustaining wages.

With a demand for truck drivers still there, CLC once again made up to 50 full-tuition scholarships available for students looking to earn their commercial driver’s license and start their career on the road. An anonymous donor gave the college $250,000 toward the effort after giving more than $100,000 a year ago.

Another example of one of CLC’s CTE initiatives is the Transform Lake County program. CLC is looking to recruit and serve underrepresented, low-income and underemployed Lake County community members with workforce training, focusing on North Chicago, Waukegan, Zion and Round Lake. They can apply to earn short-term career certificates in automotive collision repair, automotive technology, heating and air conditioning engineering technology or phlebotomy. Classes are taught at the Grayslake and Lakeshore Campuses. For more information about the grant and to apply, visit 

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.