GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College is moving forward with two new programs to meet industry needs and create meaningful employment opportunities for district residents.
On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the L&C Board of Trustees approved a new Pharmacy Technician certificate, to be offered beginning Fall 2021.
Dean of Career Programs Sue Czerwinski said new legislation amending the Illinois Pharmacy Practice Act (Public Act 101-0621) will require pharmacy technicians to have graduated from an accredited training program, beginning on Jan. 1, 2022.
“We’re hoping to have classes for the certificate up and running this fall so our first group of graduates will meet the new requirement on time,” Czerwinski said.
Associate Professor of Automotive Technology Chris Reynolds gave a presentation on the college’s progress toward “Building a Pipeline of Biodiesel Technicians for Careers in Fields and Cities.”
Year one’s objectives included increasing student awareness and interest in diesel/biodiesel technology pathways and careers, increasing student participation in work-based learning activities in diesel/biodiesel and increasing industry involvement.
“COVID has ruined a lot of the things we wanted to complete in year one,” he said. “But there is still a very big need in the medium/heavy duty truck, bus transit side that we have the opportunity to fill.”
Reynolds said the college was able to secure a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant over the next three years to focus curriculum development in three categories for medium/heavy duty truck and agriculture-based equipment – braking systems, electricity/electronics and diesel engine operations.
The program was able to secure two Scania diesel engines from Analytical Engineering and two Cummins diesel engines from Cummins, Inc., through alumni connections working in fleet industries.
“Students can see potential earnings start from $40,000-60,000 annually, plus benefits, and that’s a big incentive for this program,” Reynolds said. “In the next 10 years, there will be a projected 11,000 job openings in just the St. Louis metro area.”
Also during the meeting, President Ken Trzaska gave an update on the college’s budget status nearly halfway through the fiscal year.
“We are on track with having a balanced budget this year, and a big reason for that is we’re seeing less activity on campus,” Trzaska said. “Folks are being responsible; doing what they need to do to operate within the lines that were approved. I’m very proud of the team.”
To increase financial transparency, the Board will add a new “budget health” item to the regular agenda beginning in December. The item will add context to the financial snapshots that are already available monthly.
Addressing enrollment concerns amid COVID-19, Trzaska said the college is reframing and refocusing strategies to address student access and success.
“In terms of innovation, we’re ahead of the game,” he said.
Lewis and Clark is piloting Blendflex courses this spring, which will allow students more control over how they attend – virtually, asynchronously or in person. Trzaska is also meeting with superintendents across the district to look into new career pathways for district high schools.
“We’re also one of two schools in the state looking at competency based education and that’s going to change the game,” Trzaska said.
Other items of note:
- The college announced that Commencement 2020, which was postponed in May, will take place virtually in the wake of COVID-19. The college is producing a video, which will premiere at 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 20, on the college’s YouTube page, www.youtube.com/lewisandclarkcc.
- The college’s strategic planning process is underway. The process includes feedback from the Board, campus leadership, team members, students and soon, community stakeholders. Trzaska expects to have a draft of the plan to the Board for approval in the spring, to go into effect July 1, 2021.
- The college is currently reviewing program development and review processes to ensure programs are meeting needs in the community and are given the resources they need to be successful.
- The Board approved the remainder of student academic fees for 2021-2022. These fees help cover materials needed for courses. “The real push behind fees is so students can have their materials on day one of class instead of waiting to be able to purchase textbooks,” said Interim Chief Academic Officer Jill Lane.
The L&C Board of Trustees meets on the second Tuesday of each month. During the pandemic, meetings are being held on Zoom. Meeting details can be found at www.lc.edu/BOT.